A first-rate radio journalist has written a Gulf War book that mirrors her strengths as a reporter. She has an eye for detail, evokes images and scenes that ring true and portrays Kuwaitis and Saudis in realistic terms. She is especially good at explaining why the United States was caught by surprise and yet proved to be remarkably well prepared to fight precisely the war that Saddam Hussein made inevitable by his intransigence. But the book is weak on analysis and may be overly optimistic about the "remaking of the Arab world" that will result from the war. Still, of this genre of instant history, Amos' book stands out as one of the very best. One serious complaint, perhaps best directed at her editor: How could a book like this be so poorly edited? How could Simon & Schuster publish a book in which "cite" becomes "site," "pole" becomes "poll," and "accelerate" becomes "excelerate," to mention just a few? And how is the ordinary reader to know that Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud is supposed to be the same person as Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Aziz? And the list goes on.
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