Once the sword of power has been drawn, it can never again be sheathed. That is the lesson the United States has been learning ever since she emerged from World War II as one of the great world powers. This central issue dominates Herbert Agar's exciting narrative history of the first twelve years of American world responsibility. He reviews the events and crises that have marked postwar history—the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, the Berlin airlift, the Eightieth Congress and Truman's election, the Hiss case, the collapse of Nationalist China, the McCarthy hearings, the atom and hydrogen bombs, McCarthy's "retirement," and Eisenhower's first election. In the great tradition of journalism and history, Mr. Agar has based his writings on close observation of recent world events and on his acquaintance with the people who have participated in them. He presents a vigorous and brilliant interpretation of the difficult years of America's coming of age in the field of international politics and diplomacy and a candid evaluation of the price America must pay as the world's most powerful nation.