Il Duce's ""notorious war"" against Ethiopia clearly exposed world opinion as an illusory deterrent to aggression. He mounted his invasion in the face of formal sanctions by the League of Nations and their somewhat meager implementation by the big Western powers. The result: weakening of the League, a step toward World War II, and a clear victory for Italy. As Barker, one of the best of contemporary popular historians (Suez: The Seven Day War, and, most recently, The Bastard War), ably shows here, diplomatic considerations were probably more important than military ones for Italy--as is always the ease in a David and Goliath war. Barker's book, which is readable, coherent, engrossing, delves equally into the politico-diplomatic machinations and the military campaign. He makes somewhat large claims for the importance of his subject: that this war wrecked the League. But, then, some historians have supported this view (while others disagree). On the whole, quite a perceptive account of an incident, particularly important in his view as a foreunner of the contemporary little wars of aggression.