Subtitled ""The Long Road Back From the Bomb,"" this intelligent treatise by a Business Week editor seeks to define our present position in terms of limited warfare. It is analytical and unstintingly critical -- ""Once Korea was over, the Air Force comfortably turned its attention back to the deterrent weapons of SAC and forgot about the annoying problem of air support for the Army."" The major case here is for conventional weapons. Mr. Tompkins points out that weapons do determine tactics as he deplores the all or nothing at all policy of massive retaliation with military attention riveted on deadly but, to all practical purposes, impotent nuclear weapons. He discusses Kennedy's disillusionment with the discovery of the ""gun cap"" -- ""We intend to have a wider choice than humiliation or all-out nuclear action,"" dissects intellectual and political gamesmanship, interservice rivalries, prospects for the future of what Ho Chi Ming termed the ""long inconclusive war,"" propaganda, computer command, strategy in guerrilla warfare, fallout, gas and germ warfare and the latest developments in armaments, small scale and long range. He brings a practical wisdom to such sensitive areas as to whether the U. S. should take such devices as the BZ (a psychochemical which causes loss of muscular control for up to ten days) out of stockpile and put it into action and he flays the American attitude that wars should be won and dispatched with much ceremony. We are in for a nasty set of small encounters, long and frustrating with no seemingly satisfactory conclusions he indicates. It's a disconcerting but all too viable view. It should be read.