Although this book purports to be a biography of Asad, it is really a whirlwind tour of 20th-century Syrian history. The book's main focus is on its foreign relations with the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and the United States. With clarity and insight, Seale details such seminal events as the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, the Middle East peace process, and the Gulf Wars. Seale provides the perfect balance of explanation and analysis while never getting bogged down in useless detail. Useful analyses of such key figures as Sadat, Begin, and Sharon are just as relevant today as they were when this book was written. His detailing of Asad's relationship with Kissinger is enough to make the reader cringe for, unfortunately, Kissinger's duplicity and manipulations were not limited to such places as Chile,Kurdistan,etc. This book is invaluable for its enumeration on the political situation in the Middle East. Valuable to the reader struggling to gain an overall understanding of the Middle East, this book also shrewdly portrays Asad's rise to power both in his own country and in the Middle East.