The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, and its advice on scientific issues is commonly regarded as fair, balanced, and competent. Thus any report by the academy is considered to provide the framework for future research directions and funding. That is why I am disappointed and worried by the present volume on explosive volcanism. The study does not discuss many of the most important new findings or aspects of the topic, includes unrelated material, exludes authors who are widely recognized as experts, and offers lackluster recommendations. All of the articles in the volume are of scientific interest, but some are inappropriate for this special, politically important study of explosive volcanism.