The author's avowed aim is to present a history of the ideas of nuclear strategy. This Herculean task, covering three and a half decades during which there has been an immense outpouring of writing, is accomplished well. Those who have lived this debate will be reminded of its twists and turns. It is the new students, who have had less exposure, especially to the ideas of the 1950s and 1960s, who will profit the most. Freedman concludes that the nuclear doctrine debate has now become so esoteric that it is dealing with issues of second- and third-order importance, neglecting the overriding political uncertainties in world politics. He is right!