McConnell (Into the Mouth of a Cat, 1984, etc.) presents a compelling, crisply narrated account of America's 1989 invasion of Panama. Unlike other recent historians of the invasion (e.g., Kevin Buckley in Panama, p. 575), Mcconnell does not dwell on the political and diplomatic background of the conflict between General Manuel Noriega and the Bush Administration. Instead, after he concisely sums up the atmosphere of tension in Panama City in the days immediately before the invasion (and paints a demonic portrait of Noriega and his defense forces), McConnell plunges into the military mechanics of the invasion itself. In taut, snapshot-like accounts of the surprise attacks of SEALS, Rangers, and other elite troops at Paitilla Airport, the Canal, and additional vital points in Panama City, the author excels in rendering clear what must have been highly confusing combat situations. McConnell emphasizes the sophisticated technology of the invasion, and his account is replete with military acronyms and technobabble reminiscent of a Tom Clancy thriller--although his clear and fast-paced narrative captures well the atmosphere of the invasion. While his admiration for the brilliant execution of the American military is evident, the author balances his account with descriptions of the tragic ""friendly fire"" episodes that needlessly caused a number of American casualties, and the farcical use of rock music to harass Noriega after he took refuge in the Vatican embassy. An excellent narrative of the invasion, and a superb education in American military technology.