The name probably means nothing to most people. ""It began,"" according to the preface, ""when a military coup overthrew the popularly elected government of a small Caribbean republic."" Then U.S. Marines went in to keep the constitutionalists out, because the U.S. thought they were in cahoots with the revolutionary government of another Latin American country. The Dominican Republic, 1965? No. This is 1927, Nicaragua. Sandino? He was the only insurgent who refused an enforced peace, who took his handful of ragged soldiers into the mountains and discovered the basic techniques of modern guerrilla warfare. Meanwhile U.S. military and political leaders--including men such as Ridgway, Stimson, Dulles, Bundy--were discovering the basic techniques of counter-insurgency, and also the sad fact that these cannot succeed. For six years it went on, until the U.S. gave up and went home. Only then was Sandinismo crushed, through trickery which established a dictator whose family still rules there with U.S. blessing today. Mr. Macaulay has written a balanced, scholarly, incisive book about the whole affair, driving home every point in the lesson we never seem to learn.