A seasoned spectator, personal, politically partisan, Freya Stark reports here on four years spent in the middle-east as a member of the British Ministry of Information. Her interest was centered on the rise of the modern Arab -- the young effendi -- to whom she dedicates this book. As a spokesman for the Arab, in concomitance with British colonial policy, she defends the White Paper, the official position that no country should be forced to accept unlimited immigration. However, her report is not predominantly political; it is a random review of her two longest periods in Aden and Baghdad, of travels to Dhala, through the medieval mountain region of Yemen, to the Red Sea, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Transjordan. It is commentary, too, on the colonial official, on the penetration of Fascism, on the position of native workers, of women; on education and westernization; on personalities and potentates -- native, British, military, social, etc. While she makes no serious contribution to controversial topics, she is eminently readable.