This book fills a niche -- and that is news when talking of another correspondent's story. There has been a notable gap in our background on the Dutch East Indies and the steps leading up to their fall, on the Dutch as colonists, the Eurasian and native situations. Mr. Morin, in this lucid and very vital record of his round-up trip on the eve of war, has made a signal contribution to our better understanding. From Japan to Shanghai to the Philippines (so far nothing new): then Java, and he gives something of the historical background, a good deal of leading figures, van Mook, van der Pless and others. One gets the sense of their philosophy -- ""peace but not at any price""; of the too little and too late preparations for defense; of the cooperation and loyalty of the Javanese, natives and Eurasians. Then Singapore where the British embodied the evils of old style colonization -- a twice told tale -- but fresh in his retelling of a stage set for tragedy. His abortive efforts to get a close-up of Thailand and Indo-China, already Japanese-dominated, though the French little men clung to their illusions; his half success and the picture he took away with him. Finally, Kurusu's mission -- and Pearl Harbor. Much that has been said, but presented with vigor and individuality; and enough that is new to make it worth a place all its own. And it is full of human bits, anecdotes, human and insatiable curiosity of the natural born journalist.