Soviet relations past and present with any given Middle Eastern country are cloaked in relative secrecy on both sides. Only a few Western observers, casting a wide net and practising a superior brand of Sovietology and its Middle Eastern equivalent, have been able to produce credible, though obviously not definitive, accounts. Ramet can now be added to their number. His book seems remarkably free of misjudgments, and it adds interesting points to some of the critical episodes such as the Syrian war scare of 1957, the prologue to the Six Day War in 1967, the Syrian incursion into Jordan in 1970, and the intervention in Lebanon in 1976. The entire narrative confirms the conclusion that Syria, as a Soviet client, was never a Soviet puppet.