The text is less sensational than the title but it is not without interesting revelations on how Saddam Hussein bullied his way to power in Iraq and made his lunge for dominance in the gulf. The meat of the book recounts the deals by which Western governments, companies and "merchants of death" sold Iraq the instruments of war and the means to make weapons of mass destruction. The reader cannot check all the facts, but the account seems convincing. Here, as in the use of material from intelligence services and other sensitive sources, there is no documentation. The early chapters, devoted to historical background, are generally accurate but with a definite anti-Western, anticolonial viewpoint and a goodly share of overstatement and misstatement. Darwish, Egyptian born, is a correspondent for The Independent of London. His co-author, "Gregory Alexander," presumably also a journalist, has chosen to write under a pseudonym.