Specialness is semaphor. It needs to be decoded and analyzed. Otherwise it is unintelligible. 'It is special. It just is. And that's that' - Margaret Thatcher, in characteristic mode. Yet scholars have not done much better. Too often in the literature of the special relationship attitude trumps analysis. These essays represent a consolidated attempt to go further. They investigate the who and what and how of this extraordinary relationship. They focus on the personalities and strategies of the wartime and post-war period. They examine the meaning and demeaning of an idea - the idea of a boon companion in a hostile world - and they ask if we can, after all, specify specialness.