Sowing the Wind tells of how and why this happened. The subject is painful and essentially sombre, but John Keay illuminates it with lucid analysis and anecdotes. This is that rarest of works, a history with humour, an epic with attitude, a dirge that delights. Here are unearthed a host of unregarded precedents, from the Gulf's first gusher to the first aerial assault on Baghdad, the first of Syria's innumerable coups, and the first terrorist outrages and suicide bombers. Little known figures--junior officers, contractors, explorers, spies--contest the orthodoxies of Arabist giants like T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Glubb Pasha and Loy Henders Four Roosevelts juggle with the fate of nations. Authors as alien as E.M. Forster and Arthur Koestler add their testimony. And in Antonius and Weizmann, the Mufti and Begin, Arab is inexorably juxtaposed with Jew. Pertinent, scholarly and irreverent, Sowing the Wind provides an ambitious insight into the making of the world's most fraught arena.