To crown his political career and in the aftermath of the Gulf War, President Bush championed a New World Order to turn his military victory into a political cause. Alas, no such order emerged because Washington failed to recognize the underlying problems of the region-denial of democracy and human rights by authoritarian regimes and the gap between rich and poor. In this remarkable essay, Shlaim, the Iraqi-born, Israeli-raised, and British-educated Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford, provides an unusually lucid historical analysis of the Middle East to underline seminal developments that shaped the region. He assesses the critical role of the Ottoman Empire and admonishes successive American administrations, which distinguished themselves by adopting a series of inconsistent policies during the past 50 or so years. Shlaim offers cogent insights on key issues and, without being coy, recommends a course of action that calls for more U.S. involvement in the peace process. Breathtaking in its scope and historical precision, this is a highly recommended volume for both public and academic libraries.-Joseph A. Kechichian, Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Cal.