The capacity for overwhelming military destruction- for example, through poison gas-existed long before the atom bomb. It is a form of understandable hysteria that the world should anticipate a nuclear war of annihilation between the United States and Russia- but the deterrents to such a war that have always existed between the nations continue to exist. Halle describes these deterrents and for that despite the danger of limited engagements, such as the war in Korea, all-out destruction does not threaten. Optimists are becoming a rare breed- and reasoned, down-to-earth optimists like Halle are virtually extinct. Yet he is persuasive, and he preserves historical perspective in his rebuttal of the prophets of doom.