For some years the military correspondent of The New York Times, and coming from a military family, the author is very evidently at home with the armed forces. This makes his criticism all the more devastating. In his insider's account Halloran is sympathetic to the soldier in the field but finds much wrong in the Pentagon, both with the top brass and the political leadership. He advocates what he terms "bold changes" to include abolition of the Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force and would regulate the defense industry as a public utility under the scrutiny of an independent commission like those watching trade or the securities market. Halloran at times overstates his case: Is it really true that the United States could not engage in combat on the level of Korea or Vietnam in either Central America or the Persian Gulf? Yet despite occasional lapses, this pungent book often hits its mark.