Hugh Baillie is the ex-president of the United Press. He calls these recollections ""the story of men in crisis"" whom he encountered during 40 years of reporting. In 1910, at 19, he went to work for the Los Angeles Record. He had been hired for the sports desk but he covered the police beat, entertainment and rewrite. In 1919 he joined the San Francisco bureau of U.P., eventually became manager of the Washington bureau and by 1935 was president of the U.P. He recalls an impressive record of major news coverage and interviews: the Clarence Darrow trial; Wilson's fight for the League of Nations; pre-war Europe when Hitler was already in power; Stalin's Russia; England, Africa and Sicily in 1943; the generals -- Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton; Japan in 1945; Chiang Kai-shek, MacArthur, Pope Pius XII; the Nurenberg trials; the ousting of Peron; finally the testing of the Bomb at Yucca Flat. Unlike Kent Cooper and the Associated Press (see p. 200) to be published by Random House on April 13th, this is not a history of the United Press, the rival wire service, but unhesitatingly direct, contemporary history, viewed from the pinnacles. A fundamentally interesting personal record.