A British journalist who for nearly three decades has made the Mediterranean his special beat has written an important compendium about the countries bordering the sea. Every country gets its due, and his sketches of individuals (Aldo Moro, for example, or Yasser Arafat) and old cities and regions are incisive and memorable. Combining a novelist's imagination and a reporter's sense of fact, Fox has written a most unusual book, with a political theme: all across the Mediterranean, despite such obvious diversity, certain processes seem almost identical, most clearly: "the authority of states and governments was being weakened visibly by the uncontrolled surges and shifts of populations." A trifle long and repetitive, the book is nevertheless a most readable and informative introduction to countries, all too often neglected, that are in the throes of revolutionary change. How is the richer North going to respond to the population explosion of the poor South? We were surprised by events in Eastern Europe; this book alerts us to likely and less welcome upheavals along the Inner Sea.