One is always amazed at the dizzying rate at which current events become past history. Thus, in reading this finely detailed circumstantial narration of the thirteen days in October, 1962, when Russia threatened the U.S. and Kennedy put down Khrushchev, it seems longer ago. Viet Nam has overshadowed the earlier crisis. Abel has done a first rate Job in recreating the tense atmosphere of that particular time, delineating the devious steps Which led-- if not to any permanent resolution of Cold War policies at least away from that diving board to disaster. With almost no personal editorializing, he has kept all the pertinent debate and action in meaningful focus and used graphic detail throughout, Who else, for instance, has ever stopped to describe just what a U-2 actually looks, feels and flies like?