Dr. Breisach's intent is to clear up the rampant confusion relating to the philosophy of existentialism, to explore its historical roots, to analyze the validity and significance of the dogma-less doctrine for the malaise of the 20th century. And he does all this for the ""non-professional"" reader. Back to the usual group of precursors goes Dr. Breisach: to Soren Kierkegaard who ""disencapsulized"" the Christian way, to Nietzsche and his glance into ""the boiling abyss"", to Heidegger, to Kafka and right on up to Camus, Sartre, Buber and Tillich. He traces the recurrent themes in the theistic and atheistic ontology of freedom -- the search for authentic existence, hostility to closed systems, alienation, the search for ""the quick of life"", and the constant decision making of man uncommitted. In short, competently, lucidly, and quite epigrammatically, Dr. has done what Walter Kaufmann and others have done- as well and better. What is lacking is not so much in the grasp, but in the reach. If indeed ""True values are only those which emerge during the life of an existing person"", then it is with those lives that the author should have concerned himself, exploring them through the novelistic mirrors of Hesse, of Camus, of Lagerkvist. The doctrines themselves were only introduction and negativistic appeals at best. By not exploring the literature of possibility, Dr. fails notably.