From the author of Vanished Empire (1989), New York Days, New York Nights (1985), etc.--another sociopolitical travelogue, this one offering crafted caricatures of Israel that tell much about that complex land and its people. Brook takes us on a wide topographic, religious, culinary, cultural, and political tour of every significant spot in this dizzyingly diverse country. We are brought to the coffeehouses and living rooms of Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, of left-wing kibbutzim on the coast, of right-wing settlements in the territories, immigrant development towns and Bedouin encampments in the desert, and Christian, Druze, and Hasidic communities in the Galilee and Golan Heights. Brook lets us hear the impassioned voices of Palestinian leaders and of members of Peace Now and Israel's leading literati (with whom his own sympathies lie), but also provides a forum for Meir Kahane fundamentalists and supernationalists. And most endearing is the casting of Brook as a straight. laced Briton in a Levantine land that is warm but ill-mannered, hedonistic yet spiritual. To him the Dead Sea is ""clammy in its oily caress""; Jerusalem is a place where ""grown men and women stand on the street screaming at each other""; the Church of the Assumption has ""an appealing creepiness"" and is stocked with ""unsavory priests loitering about."" Brook makes this an armchair trip to Israel worth taking.