This mammoth tome on recent history is an attempt on the part of the author to define the origins of American society: its present status; what the dangers are confronting it; and the directions in which lie the appropriate answers to its problems. The book is actually a part of the greater American Project conducted at the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1955-58 under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. The author's thesis is that American policy has gone astray in recent years because the American view of the current situation has been too strongly colored by memories of the preceding crisis. By reviewing American diplomacy and military actions over the years, the author hopes that we shall be able to understand how and why we have arrived at our present state, and how we can more rationally deal with the problems facing us. The author contends that one of the reasons we are where we are is because of our ""national style"" of doing things. He describes this national style as being the ultimate motivating forces of the nation--complex, elusive forces which can only be recognized after a close study of the American past. Mr. Rostow also goes into the problem of national interest, and how this national interest has changed in the course of our history. Another theme of the book is the concept of stages of growth, which covers the wide area of our technological and economic development and how this has had an influence on our foreign policy. Not a book for popular taste.