This is that rarity, the astute primer: rigorously ordered, it builds from definition to reality and theory and the disparity between the two. The Table of Contents indicates the logic and something of the method: the four major parts treat successively ""The Extent of America's Economic Power,"" ""The Demands Upon Power,"" ""The Limitations of Power,"" ""The Problem of the Payments Deficit."" The reminder that ""America is a great power today largely because it was able to grow so quickly and easily when it was young"" precedes identification of present resources: ""natural endowment, educated labor force, advanced technology, highly developed administrative abilities. . . large research and development programs."" America's impact as buyer and seller on both underdeveloped and industrialized nations is discussed in political as well as economic terms along with measures to secure stability. This last, indeed, is the thrust of the book, coalescing in the cumulative examination of the currency/credit problem; subsumed are some rather recondite matters made tangible--including the Gold-Dollar Exchange System born at Bretton Woods and the threat to it of a continued U.S. balance of payments deficit. Also worth mentioning is the very fair assessment of Soviet motives, the very sensitive feel for the aspirations of the de-colonized countries. And with the latter comes one of the stumbling-blocks in the attempt to reduce the deficit--that overseas expenditures like foreign aid that don't bring an immediate monetary return (unlike trade, which does) tend to be the most beneficial in the long run. Perhaps, the author suggests, classic economic theory is on the verge of ""a basic revolution."" Incorporating happenings from the Aswan Dam to the Panama Canal, it's admirably lucid, relevant and large-minded.