In this often scathing and always interesting survey of militarism, Mr. Coffin ranges from ancient Greece to a hilariously accurate account of the War of 1812 and a terrifying picture of future wars in space, but his primary concern is with the Pentagon of the 1950's and '60's and its cosy relations with big business and the radical right. Informally, with a deadly gift for the timely quip, he portrays the men in uniform and out who keep the warfare state in ominous full bloom. There is a devastating chapter devoted to General MacArthur, and another shows how Russia's military under Khrushchev has come to resemble ours very closely, both in its potential for mischief and in its dangerously parochial outlook. A glance at the professionalsoldier's uneasy liaison with his current bedfellow, the scientist, also provides several grim ironies and many little-known but very unsettling facts. Disarmament advocates will find this a valuable but hardly optimistic handbook.