Long-time overseas correspondent Szulc here files a report on his beat, postwar world affairs. His narrative account focuses on the United States, the Communist bloc, and the Third World. But this is too much like history to be wholly effective as journalism: the immediacy of personal observation is only infrequently evident. And it is too much like journalism to be effective as history; a lot of ground is covered at the sacrifice of analysis, and the book in parts is merely a recap of old news. Best known for Fidel ( LJ 1/87), his biography of Castro, Szulc is most successful in his treatment of the Third World, where ``the West's . . . misunderstandings never seemed to end.'' He is weakest on domestic events, e.g., crediting John Kennedy with inspiring blacks to pursue civil rights: most historians now would disagree. An optional choice for public and undergraduate libraries.-- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chichester, N.H.