Gervasi has been an old Mideast hand since his World War II journalistic assignment to British HQ. This survey is devoted to baiting the involvement of ""the Russian bear"" in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Gervasi claims that it was the Soviets who started the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to thwart NATO and grab the Mideast and the Indian Ocean; moreover, ""Today the Kremlin, not the White House, calls the tune in the General Assembly."" Such factors as the role of the oil corporations or the Soviet loss of Mideast influence over the past six years are not denied, just flatly omitted. Instead there is an excess of what could impolitely be called historical padding--the history of the Mediterranean from Phoenician days, a detailed account of the American extirpation of the Barbary Pirates, the Italian Risorgimento and the Crimean War. Gervasi winds up with a proposal for the Mideast--guarantee Israel's 1967 borders and bring Israel formally into NATO. This would make Israel an even stronger anti-Soviet bulwark. It would also mean playing at intensified brinksmanship with the Arab states. But the intricacies of Arab-U.S.-Soviet relationships are ignored in this book, as are the reader's questions as to why Israeli intelligence failed in 1973 or how the petroleum price situation affects chances for a lasting peace. Gervasi is right to say that the Mideast remains the ""potential battlefield of World War III""--but this book adds little to the diagnosis. Indeed Gervasi seems willing to make regional conflicts into a NATO-Soviet showdown.