Arnold offers a balanced, concise introduction to the decision-making surrounding American intervention in Vietnam. He concentrates on the Eisenhower administration (1953-61), but provides the needed background with a survey of the Truman years and touches on how existing policy affected the Kennedy team. The influence of prominent individuals (John Foster Dulles, Arthur Radford, ``Lightning Joe'' Collins, Ngo Dinh Diem, and the always-fascinating Edward Lansdale) on the sometimes torturous foreign policy process is a key element in understanding the rationale underlying White House actions. Arnold provides the necessary preface to the final scenes on the embassy roof in Saigon. Recommended for Vietnam collections.-- John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, N.Y.