Why we are in Vietnam is today a question of mainly historical interest. We are there, for better or for worse, and we must deal with the situation that exists," says Pulitzer-prize winning Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who has acted as Special Assistant to two Presidents. He retraces the route of our involvement in Vietnam and along the way to his own proposals for future action poses all the hard questions. The prevalence of the military, with their "one more step," has placed us "deeper and deeper into the morass" from which LBJ would extract us by a negotiated settlement, at this time to be achieved by increasing the "quotient of pain" on Hanoi and forcing such negotiation. Will China fight in Vietnam? Is this a Communist war or a national one? What are the lessons of history for us at this time and in this place? What in our national outlook is at the root of our trouble in dealing with Vietnam? These are the questions asked and answered; the solution he sees is a middle course between withdrawal and escalation, a holding of the line in South Vietnam, placing a civilian government in Saigon, cessation of bombing North Vietnam, even a place at the peace table for the Viet Cong. Finally, Mr. Schlesinger sees America faced in Vietnam with a test of our democracy. Incisive, clarifying, calm, Mr. Schlesinger deals with the situation from a position of informed authority in relation to the seats of power; of the many, this is the one book on Vietnam which appears to hold a usable key in this connection, to provide a move acceptable to the administration.