A talented Swiss journalist had the bad luck of completing a book on the Persian Gulf in May 1990, just months before Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. An otherwise readable journalistic account of the region's politics now seems strangely dated. There are still useful observations and anecdotes, but little in the way of profound analysis. The author is fairly optimistic about prospects for Gulf Cooperation Council states. But from the perspective of 1991, she tries too hard to be fair to Saddam.