A tactical history of American military invasions of the Caribbean Basin. For military historian Musicant (Battleship at War and U. S. Armored Cruisers--not reviewed), history is propelled not by policy decisions or economic goals, but by geography and the relative military might of nations. Geography, he believes, is the force that has time and again brought the US into conflict with the Caribbean's rulers, with the result always attributable to superior American military strength. Musicant centers his narrative on US weaponry and how it has been employed, adding a bit of tension to the many battle accounts--the sinking of the Maine, the 1965 occupation of the Dominican Republic, the 1983 invasion of Grenada, etc.--by reproducing telegram texts between field commanders and the White House. Occasionally, his prose takes off, with descriptions of the burnt hulls of the defeated Spanish fleet or of a helicopter accident that left ""whirring blades [that] lopped arms and legs off several [US Army men] ""; but for the most part, he fails to transfer to the reader his own fascination with military hardware. Plodding and intricately detailed; for hard-core ordnance buffs only.