This historical narrative expertly brings together a plethora of sources to explicate the complexities of decision-making during the most turbulent 23 years of the Cold War (1945–68). Though Santos (Univ. of Lynchburg) asserts no theoretical construct, “seeking more to describe,” he posits "satisficing" as the centralizing theme of the period, whereby decisions were made “in light of short-term realities.” As he details, the fallibility of decision-makers, seeming unwillingness to negotiate with enemies, imperfect intelligence, bureaucratic politics, unequal levels of rationality among the international actors, domestic sociocultural turmoil, and a rapidly changing dynamic of disparate nation-states exposed the limits of what was acceptable from regimes antithetical to an American agenda. Ultimately, these two decades of short-term satisficing "were motivated by a consistent theme—keep communism ... out of the regions at all costs,” a constraining rather than liberating framework for decision-making. Throughout this well-written text, Santos reveals similar overarching constraints to long-term thinking, referencing Dean Acheson's observation that “the significance of events [is] shrouded in ambiguity” as they are occurring. The lessons to be learned from this period continuously reveal themselves in America’s pursuit to export democracy today. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels.