Turmoil in El Salvador and Nicaragua in the past four years has led people to forget the monumental achievement of American and Panamanian diplomats and politicians in negotiating and ratifying the canal treaties of 1978. Had those treaties-which provided for the end of a colonial anachronism and the restoration of Panamanian sovereignty over the canal by the year 2000-failed, a bad situation in Central America might now be catastrophic. This magnificent diplomatic memoir-history by the American ambassador to Panama at the time should be required reading for every diplomat or student of diplomacy. It is candid, exciting and subtle in its treatment of personalities, politics and the tangled facts of a complicated story. A classic.