With a glance at the historical origins of isolationism (what was the American Revolution itself, Adler shrewdly asks, but an isolationist manoeuvre?) the book advances to the era of Wilsonian democracy and through to the present date. The viewpoint is almost exclusively political except for some emphasis upon prevailing social values and temperament. Designed for a large if serious audience, the content is conspicuously free of tortuous, scholarly or analytic points, and abounding in public statements and diary confidences by men of affairs, episodes and epigrams, pertinent side remarks, illuminations from the events of the day, and some delightful reasoning about policy, motives and political strategy at the upper levels of leadership. The isolationist pattern could scarcely be traced (in the post World War I era) more engagingly, more fairly, more resourcefully in choice of materials or with a more keen sensibility for the dynamics of the movement. Some readers- this one among them- could wish Alder had examined more closely the personal psychological components which have animated individual isolationists, as well as the social psychology of isolation in general.