A gem, an authoritative handbook on U.S. policy focusing on the crucial conflicts of the past 25 years. First are analyses of different approaches: Federico Gil on the Kennedy-Johnson years, Michael Francis on the "Kissinger years," Robert Pastor on the Carter policies he helped make. Margaret Daly Hayes, whose excellent chapter only covers the first Reagan term, says the U.S. "flexed its muscles" but used them infrequently. Then the handling of particular flashpoints is examined, among them Paul Sigmund's astute reckoning of U.S. policy toward Chile in 1970-1973 and its fallout, Steve Ropp on the Panama Canal treaties, Riordan Roett on debt, Abraham Lowenthal on Central America and Wayne Smith on Cuba. Their views are well known, and lean to the liberal side, but realities are not ignored; Pastor concludes that the Carter Administration, against its preferences, "was impelled to address a traditional security agenda."