On the correct premise that only Israel's vantage point on the June 1967 war is at all known in detail, Mutawi offers a Jordanian perspective. The book's strength lies in the fullness of its account, the author's access to sources, and the many new details he adds to this much-studied event. He relates how King Husayn was the one to prod Nasser into blocking Israeli access to the Straits of Tiran, how Richard Murphy (today in charge of the State Department's Middle East bureau) inexplicably urged Amman at a critical moment to appease Nasser, and how the Syrian leaders "were almost gloating" at the Arabs' six-day defeat. In perhaps his most telling observation, Mutawi explains why Amman ineluctably did its part to create the crisis ' that led to war: "the Jordanian government found itself engaged in activities which it felt were ultimately detrimental to the Arab cause but which were essential if it was to maintain its integrity in the eyes of its people." Fortunately, the Arab state system has lost strength since Nasser's time and this sort of self-inflicted harm has become rare.
The book's weakness lies in the fundamentally apologetic tenor of the undertaking. Syria and Egypt especially, but also Israel, the Soviet Union, and the United States all get the blame. In contrast, the Jordanian government retains a purity of intention and an innocence of action. However major a source for specialists, this limitation renders Mutawi's account hazardous for the uninitiated.