It is difficult to see how either ofnthese two books will add much to society’snunderstanding of the complexitiesnof sex roles and of gender-based personalnidentities. Sexton’s book has a decidedlynLittle Women air to it and seems tonwork best as a primer for exceedinglynnaive adolescents who have not yetnheard of existentialism or of Sartre’sndictate that “we are our choices.” Indeed,nthat such a book could even benwritten in a post-existentialist era is innitself a wonder; apparently, and incredibly,nSexton feels that she is the firstnto discover that free will is an essentialncomponent of the search for self-definitionnand that she must bring this startlingndiscovery to the women of her generation.nWhile Sexton’s book occasionallynredeems itself through the vitalitynof her portraits of individual lives, May’snbook reads like the first draft of an illconceivednPh.D. dissertation and is justnabout as illuminating. May appears to bena competent statistician and researcher,nbut statistics and data tossed upon thenOily PoliticsnJ. B. Kelly: Arabia, the Gulf and thenWest; Basic Books; New York.nby Alan J. LevinenJ. B. Kelly has given the Westernnworld a scholarly account of how it putnitself at the mercy—or the lack of mercyn—of a bunch of midget despotisms. Letnus hope that those trying to get us outnof this miserable position will read thisnexceptionally well-written book. Despitenhis depressing subject, Kelly manages tonlighten the task of the reader, for henoften indulges in humor and irony at thenexpense of our Middle Eastern friendsnand the people who have imagined themselvesnto be “leading” the Western indus-nDr. Levine is a frequent contributor tonthese pages.npage do not, in themselves, provide answersnto complex social issues. This inabilitynto synthesize information intonbroad patterns of insight lies at the heartnof the failure of each book to master itsnsubject and to provide a meaningful experiencenfor the reader. For all the informationnpresented and for all thenwords expended, both books remainnlargely chaff. This is indeed unfortunate,nfor the subject matter they covernand the issues they delineate are trulynsignificant ones, a just explication ofnwhich would prove most beneficial to individualsnin confronting the social milieusnwhich shape individual lives andnidentities. In both instances, what wasnneeded by Sexton and May was the deftnhand of the philosopher; what remains,ninstead, is the eye of the researcher,nspotting the problem and pinpointing itsnessence but unable to elaborate upon itsnimplications. Sexton and May prove adequatenat demarcating the target but mustnleave to analysts more insightful andngifted than they the task of hitting thenbull’s-eye. Dntrial world. He supplies excellent briefndescriptions of the various Gulf statesnand their past relations with the West,nprimarily with Great Britain. As Kellynpoints out, Britain’s Indian colonial governmentnestablished a paramount positionnon the Iranian and Arabian coastsnlong before the development of the internal-combustionnengine and oil; theynwere concerned with suppressing piracy,ninternecine warfare and slave tradenamong the local peoples. Mostly, however,nhe concentrates on the dismal storynof the end of the British regime, as wellnas the not-unconnected tale of the risenof OPEC.nThe end of the British position innArabia and the Gulf was yet anothernfateful step in Britain’s retreat, not onlynfrom empire, but also from a major rolenin the world. Strictly speaking, it wasnnntwo steps, though only briefly separatednones.nThe first move was Britain’s with-‘ndrawal from Aden Colony and the SouthnArabian protectorates, now the “People’snDemocratic Republic of Yemen” orn”South Yemen.” Unlike previous Britishndepartures from their colonies, thisnmove did not even pretend to turn thenarea over to responsible democraticngroups. In 1967 the British literallynbacked out behind a screen of guns, leavingnAden to a bunch of bloodthirsty fanaticsn(heavily infiltrated by communists)nwho were already slaughteringnrival nationalist groups. (In 1969 thencommunists succeeded in seizing completencontrol of South Yemen; somen200,000 persons have since fled thencountry.) This step was taken not out ofnany sort of principle, or as a considerednstrategic decision, but because it wasnfashionable to retreat and to cut defensenbudgets. In January 1968 the same sortnof “thinking” led to a blunder which maynprove fatal to the West: the decision tonend all British commitments “East ofnSuez,” including those to the oil-producingnGulf states. The British persistednwith this incredibly foolish decision despitenthe fact that the Gulf sheiks, alreadynenormously wealthy from oil, werenwilling to pay Britain the twelve millionnpounds annually needed to keep Britishnforces in the area, and despite the steadyngrowth of Soviet influence and militarynstrength in the Middle East after the SixnDay War of June 1967. After sharplyncriticizing this decision, the British Conservativesnfailed to reverse it when theynreturned to power in 1970. If these remarksnseem harsh, they are mild comparednto J. B. Kelly’s comment on thenWilson-Heath era: “Never, perhaps innBritish history, has the reputation ofnBritain in the world been brought so lownas it has been in the last dozen yearsnor so.”nIhe departure of Western powerndovetailed with and encouraged the retreatnof the Western oil interests beforenthe OPEC cartel which, even beforen_ _ _ _ _ _ ^^nMarch/April 1981n