Thompson is one of the best teachers still active from the postwar generation of scholars that developed the discipline of international relations. In this finely crafted work he touches upon many aspects of world politics-the role of moral standards in diplomacy, the relationship between power and ethics, human rights, peace studies as a field and the debate between realism and idealism in international relations theory, to name only a few. The actions and policies of five presidents (Lincoln, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon) are viewed through the fine prism of the values they held and the choices they made. Thompson provides a wealth of thought and a good deal of wisdom. What makes this book such pleasurable and profitable reading is not the novelty of the issues addressed but the cultivated, intelligent mind that leads the discussion.