A different kind of book, this, not history as we know it, but journalism extended, a giant news magazine of the period in which significant dramatic incidents are followed by succinct surveys of preceding events interspersed with biographical sketches of the principals and bits of political analysis. The stated time span provides only a framework: as each major problem moves into focus, the author explores its origins and spotlights personalities. Here's how the method works--Part II, East and West, Chapter 1, The Revolution in Russia: Russian and American troops meet and celebrate at the Elbe, symbolizing the emergence of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. as ""the two strongest nations on earth;"" had these two been able ""to maintain the spirit of their happy infantrymen, a generation and more might have been spared the fear of sudden nuclear (previous chapter) annihilation.... The two principal reasons why they could not are the nature of Russia and the ideas of Marx;"" biographical and ideological rundown on Marx: historic and geographic data establishing the uniqueness of Russia, as transition to; biographical-historical sketch of Lenin and his part in the Revolution; same for Stalin and events to 1945; developments following World War II; Churchill's speech at Fulton, Missouri, with its recognition of the cold war--end of chapter. The vast scope of the material results in some oversimplification and superficiality; the rapid-fire delivery of information and the complexity of its organization makes reading the book straight through very difficult. It will be useful primarily for reference, where the extensive, detailed index, subdivided topically, will give immediate access to everything from Confucius to Containment (twelve entries, ""defined"" to ""Viet Nam"") and other key expressions.