Sir Edward Spears' first part to his two volume Assignment To Catastrophe is based on his close, almost day to day, record of the period which began on August 1st, 1939 and ends with Dunkirk, in May, 1940. On the surface it would seem to be a succession of conversations and interviews, impressions and observations of the political and military scene in which he participated as Churchill (Winston's) personal and later official representative to France. But it is far more than that as the background to war, both at home and abroad, emerges; as, in the face of continuing German aggression and the breakthrough into Holland and Belgium, England arms her attitudes as well as men; while in France, with which this is largely concerned, there is only the ""quicksand of equivocation"", the diffusion of interests, the prevailing irresolution and defeatism. Clemenceau, Darlan, Daladier, Giraud, Reynaud, Petain- who ""epitomized the paralysis of the French people"" all pass through this memoir, and Sir Edward, a man of many capabilities, proves to be an accomplished writer as well as statesman. An American audience may be more difficult to assure than in England where it has had an excellent press.