"Southwest Asia" includes everything from the eastern fringes of the Arab world to the western limits of the Indian subcontinent. Roughly, it is Zbigniew Brzezinski's "arc of crisis." To furnish a chronicle and critique of U.S. policy over so broad a region is a formidable task, but it is done here with laudable detachment and passably well. The author draws together the basic facts on the aims of American policy, how it did or did not respond to conditions in the region, and where it succeeded or failed. It is on the interpretation, generally well founded but often unheeding of nuance and always unhesitating in its judgments, that questions may be raised. It is doubtful, for example, if Henry Kissinger would recognize the policies here attributed to him.