The authors of Is Paris Burning? (1965) recreate the often-told account of another beleaguered city, Jerusalem in 1948, working the literary device particularly favored by chroniclers of Middle East conflicts -- a splicing of man-in-the-street heroics with the drama of backroom politics and diplomacy. The U.N. decision to partition Palestine was followed by British withdrawal and, as the first Arab-Israeli war gained momentum, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Jordanian Legion. Ben Gurion desperately tries to organize the Zionist state while his agents scour the European capitals for weapons and money. The suspense mounts and action is left suspended. Did Truman support Israel on the mere insistence of his old business associate? Did Farouk invade Israel because of his neurotic sense of inferiority and undersized sex organs? The Middle East is a geographic crossroads of competing imperialisms; and though this is hinted at, the full role of conflicting British and U.S. aims remains submerged under the weight of personalities. Collins and Lapierre do not analyze history or draw conclusions from it: what we get is the intersection of personal sacrifices, ambitions, and quirks of fate with the realpolitik of governments and the eccentricities of leaders. The success of their earlier book and the appeal of the subject assure a good deal of demand. A Literary Guild selection.