This is a running narrative of four decades of politics and diplomacy, with its focus on Washington, and the ideas, personalities and political pressures that have come together to produce policy decisions. Professor Spiegel stresses the philosophies and methods of the successive presidents and their top advisers as the dominant element, as he illustrates how each administration dealt with the Arab-Israeli conflict in the light of global, regional and local concerns. He discounts (too readily, some might say) the influence of domestic lobbies, and plays down the elements of continuity in policy from one administration to the next. He finds the record of every administration replete with miscalculations and mistakes. He is therefore provocative, but with a right to be so since he has studied the record so thoroughly.