Ostensibly, an objective historical survey of Arab and Israeli politics, domestic and international; actually, a selective assemblage of facts supporting a superficial leftist analysis of the future of the Arab world. Hire, a widely-traveled Pakistani journalist, novelist, and playwright living in London, is marginally informative on the smaller, lesser-known states of the Arabian peninsula and on cross-state political connections. Otherwise, the lengthy and detailed narrative is an exercise in classification--of Arab states as monarchical or republican; of Arab politics as conservative, centrist, or leftist. Also, chronologically: of the relations of the Arab world and Israel with the West, pernicious; and with the Soviet bloc, benign. The separate discussions of Arab government structure, political forces, and foreign policy proffer facts without understanding. The chapters on the history, politics, and foreign relations of Israel, portraying it as aggressive, militaristic, and rightist, are based on partial truths. (E.g., Hire twice attributes Israeli isolation in the 1970s to the October War of 1973--omitting the Arab oil embargo, among other things.) The states of the Arab East, for Hire, share ""common objectives in politics, culture, and economics""; are ""united in their support for the liberation of Palestine""; and will head, after ""long and protracted"" conflict, toward socialism and alliance with the Soviet bloc. Whether or not time proves Hire right, his analysis does not sustain that prediction. For a balanced and searching appraisal of the politics of Islam, see Edward Mortimer's Faith and Power (p. 783).