CBS correspondent Dan Raviv and Israeli journalist Yossi Melman (Every Spy a Prince, 1990) explore the special but often troubled relationship between Israel and the US. America's involvement with Israel, despite periodic rifts, dwarfs its ties to any other nation. The authors cite estimates that Israel has received some $100 billion in various forms of aid from the US since the tiny state's 1948 birth. To that figure must be added a web of relationships between the two countries' military and intelligence communities, and the inordinate amounts of time successive administrations have devoted to the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. Raviv and Melman attribute this special relationship to a complex of factors, including American feelings of guilt for the Holocaust; the role of Israel in the prophetic visions of Christian evangelicals; the political effectiveness of the American Jewish community; and the strong personal feelings of some presidents, especially Carter and Reagan. The book is well researched but not scholarly. Rather, Raviv and Melman have spun a yarn filled with gossip and inside accounts, and even an occasional bombshell (they reveal how Israeli intelligence obtained Krushchev's seminal, top-secret anti-Stalinist speech for the CIA). Throughout, they have attempted to be scrupulously evenhanded, a difficult task in recounting events in which there were -- and remain -- sharp disagreements. On the negative side, especially for people with some prior knowledge, this volume's occasional superficiality will be disappointing (the complex of events, for instance, that led to Israel's involvement in the Iran-Contra affair). Also, virtually all attributions are in notes in the back of the book, making it difficult to find the sources of particular bits of information. The book's strength, on the other hand, is in its compilation of eyewitness accounts of historical moments. A good read that sheds light not just on US ties with a particular country, but on the personal and even idiosyncratic ways in which US foreign policy is sometimes made.