This excellent book requires only an elementary familiarity with physics. The author has a fine command of his subject coupled with that rare ability to explain complex subjects simply and succinctly. His analogies are concrete and he is able to move the reader smoothly through increasingly complicated and abstract material. The book is detailed yet always interesting. Starting with the impact of World War II on technology and the increased demand for communication channels, he traces the developments (including the men responsible for them) that led to current laser usages. His final chapter on future application is pithy, and ends on a welcome humanitarian note.