As a Guggenheim Fellow, Montgomery spent two years seeking out the positive and negative aspects of military and economic aid, the various forms it took, and the way they were handled in Viet Nam, Thailand, Burma, and Taiwan. Much of that time was spent in Viet Nam, documenting case studies of practical problems; the book also examines objectives, the administrative situation, and the political theory of foreign aid, which he believes has ""lagged behind its practice"". He discusses matters of fiscal and other reform, the relationship of local press and public information groups to the outcome of a given program, the role of the American legislature, and difficulties encountered in the recipient nations (""...the governments of underdeveloped countries sometimes fail to distinguish between the central and the ceremonial parts of sovereignty""). There are several clear tables on the personnel and financial history of foreign aid. His recommendations for improving the conduct of the Mutual Security Act programs are based upon the not particularly novel injunction that it be ""more purposeful"" and ""closely integrated with other forms of our economic and political diplomacy"". Montgomery is also the author of Forced to be Free, a study of postwar economic rehabilitation in Germany and Japan.