As the author quickly admits, this ""is a rather ambitious title. It really covers more ground than can be adequately surveyed in what is after all only intended to be an introduction to genuinely specialist literature. The framework of this study , moreover, frankly political, though much of it is devoted to an analysis of facts and figures relating to economics. A certain underlying commitment to the solidarity of the Atlantic world is taken for granted, and the question is then asked how Western Europe can be expected to fit into this world now that the era of European hegemony is finally closed."" Mr. Lichtheim, also the author of Marxism - An Historical and Critical Study, is an extremely incisive analyst of the Europe that has arisen since 1945 and the implications of its impending economic and political integration. His answer to the question posed above is not a simple one, and every step toward it is closely argued from a close and practical acquaintance with all the pertinent facts. ""Perhaps the only certainty one can offer with a clear conscience,"" he concludes, the prediction that Western Europe will continue to be an irritant to its trans- lantic friends, and an insoluble puzzle to Soviet and Far Eastern sages. Its complexities do not lend themselves to any simple formula, such as capitalism vs. socialism, and its further evolution is likely to baffle the orderly minds of propagandists and political theorists in the new centers of world power.