In a sort of pensive semi-diary from purposely paled to dispassionate observance and measured commentary, Marquis Childs firmly presents the news and his views of it as he covers a crisis in foreign affairs from the final phase of the Berlin conference in February, 1954, through the Geneva Conference and the defeat of the European Defence Community Treaty by the Assembly in Paris in August of that year. His approaches are varied. Foremost is the part played by policy makers -: the peripatetic Dulles striving to achieve his aim of EDC and picking up the pieces to work out the Western European Union; Eden's courageous move against tradition by offering British troops for continental defense over an unlimited time giving heart to the French; Mendes-France, struggling on the road of reason to a bargained peace in IndoChina, railed at for his North African policy but derailed, according to some, for his failure to request an arms pool for the coalition army as proof against America's rebuilding of West Germany alone...The author feels that we skim ice which has cracked but not crashed through as we constantly change balance. His hope in that we can live through the limbo of our time, juggling between peace and war, until peace and prosperity gradually evolve the balance to a more stabilized relationship between East and West. He questions America's capacity for the discipline to do this. A postscript carries through SEATO to the present. A thoughtful interior view for the informed.