ITT, headed by rough-tough Hal Geneen, is the ""world's largest multi-national business,"" a ramshackle conglomerate on the make rather than a true industry-ruling titan. Geneen was accustomed to banana-republic dealings, until Dita Beard, his profane, flamboyant lobbyist, rolled her logs with scant discretion. Then came the expose of the tradeoff between ITT and the GOP -- a San Diego convention subsidy in exchange for a favorable antitrust judgment. Burns, an ITT executive, witnessed the fuss in both Washington and San Diego while he shaped up a marine cable boondoggle sponsored by California Congressman Bob Wilson. The book provides little lowdown on the actual Beard case (he suggests that her motives for leaking the story were revenge and celebrity). But, in a more-cynical-and-sensitive-than-thou style which recasts each conversation like a flawlessly slick novel, Burns gives a sense of the centralized ITT staff system with its spies and controllers, the infights and toadies and defense contract intrigues. There's no reason to accept everything Burns says as the whole truth; however, apart from its prim windup about conglomerates' dangerous power (Burns is now president of a biomedical company), the book makes highly marketable entertainment.