During the three months betweennnationalization and the outbreak ofnwar, Egypt proved that it could andnwould operate the Canal responsibly.nHeikal notes that there was no interruptionnof traffic: during the first thirtyndays of the Canal’s operation undernEgyptian control traffic actually increasednby 15 percent, and Egyptnmade no move to raise tolls to financenconstruction of the Aswan Dam, asnsome had feared. Nevertheless, England,nFrance, and Israel perceivednonly that Nasser had apparently overreachednhimself, and finally hadnprovided them a plausible excuse tonremove him by force.nWhat is most interesting aboutnHeikal’s book, and will probably provenmost controversial, is his analysis of then1956 war. According to Heikal, Israelnopened that campaign by invadingnSinai on October 28, 1956, hoping tonentice Egyptian troops eastward out ofnthe Canal Zone, thereby opening thenCanal to a lightning occupation bynBritain and France. In Heikal’s opinion,nthis strategy was worked out innadvance by the three invading powers.nAt the critical moment, Nasser detectednthe ruse and withdrew many of thentroops he had in Sinai to concentratenthem along the Canal. Heikal describesnhow dumbfounded Nasser was whennthe tripartite collusion became clear.nNot surprisingly, Nasser had expectednBritain to have some consideration fornits friends in Iraq, and both Englandnand France to be sensitive to Westernninterests throughout the Arab worid.nThe European powers, Heikal observes,nhad “committed the one unforgivablensin — combining with Israel tonattack an Arab country. [Nasser] foundnthe whole situation made no sense atnall — it was, in fact, quite mad.”nMilitarily, Nasser determined tonfight to the end in the Canal Zone, andnto mount a guerrilla resistance were thenWestern powers to occupy Cairo. Accordingnto Heikal, a potential commandncenter was reconnoitered in thenNile Delta, and a mobile transmitterndispatched there. Given a four-dayndelay by Britain and France in launchingntheir assault, these contingencynplans never had to be activated. Indeed,nAmerican diplomacy, along withntough Egyptian resistance, halted thenEuropean forces before they completednoccupation of the Canal. What wasnperceived by Arabs as Nasser’s partialntriumph made resentment against thenWest less than it might have been, andnAmerica’s repudiation of the action ofnits allies helped to preserve US interestsnin the Middle East. Heikal argues thatnonly two victors emerged from then1956 war: Egypt, but more especiallynthe United States.nHeikal attacks as “legend” the beliefnin the brilliance of the Israeli army’snperformance in the 1956 war. Accordingnto Heikal, the Egyptian army madenno concerted attempt to prevent thenIsraeli advance across Sinai, concernednas it was to defend the Canal Zonenagainst Britain and France. WhatnEgyptian troops remained in Sinai hadnno air cover, Heikal notes, and thenIsraeli force was augmented by Frenchnpilots. In this regard, future scholarshipnwill have to determine whethernHeikal’s account of events, or thatnoffered by Moshe Dayan in his 1966nbook, Diary of the Sinai Campaign, isnthe more credible.nOf Nasser himself, perhaps the last,nbest word was said long ago by DwightnD. Eisenhower: “Whatever you thinknof him, at least he [was] a leader.”nAntony T. Sullivan is director of NearnEast Support Services, a consultingnfirm.nA Tour of thenLabyrinthnby Gregory McNameenMazesnby Hugh KennernSan Francisco: North Point Press;n336 pp., $22.95nHugh Kenner, by day an unassumingnprofessor of English literaturenat the Johns Hopkins University, is ournforemost practitioner of the ancient cultnof the maze, a celebrant of this endlessnlabyrinth in which we live. Confrontednwith its mysteries, Mr. Kenner, the newnTheseus, confidently draws on a livelynknowledge of science, technology, music,narchitecture, language, art, politics,nand literature to explain the way toncomprehension. For three decades, itnhas been the pleasure of readers tonnnwatch his mind at work in a number ofnimportant, even revolutionary books,namong them The Pound Era, a historynof literary modernism, and Bucky, ancritical inquiry into the life and work ofnBuckminster Fuller, who, to continuenthe metaphor, is our century’s Hephaestus.nAt the heart of Hugh Kenner’snmethod, displayed throughout thenpages of his new, aptly titled collectionnof essays, rests the doctrine that thentruth — or such truth as there is —nemerges from the intersection of reverberantnfacts. This intersection, he suggests,nalone has explanatory power. Inncasually linked essays on the relevancenof the study of scientific history to thatnof literature, for example, Mr. Kennernasks us to consider these encyclopedicndetails:n—Alexander Graham Bell had nontelephone in his home, believing hisninvenhon to be appropriate only toncommerce. Twenty years later, almostnall the characters in James Joyce’s Ulyssesnare seen to have private telephones.n(This two-decade gestation period, henmight have added, also characterizesnthe growth of the computer industry.)n— Thanks to Albert Einstein andnhis principle of Time Dilation, we nownunderstand that there is no universalntime. The medium truly is the message.n— Mandelbrot functions, the basisnof fractal geometry, demonstrate oncenand for all that ontogeny recapitulatesnphylogeny. And the inventor’s namenmeans “almond bread” in Yiddish.nThe almond tree was sacred in ancientnRome.n— William Shakespeare’s vocabularyncomprised some 29,000 words; ancomplete modern English lexiconnnumbers more than a million. T.S.nEliot’s poem “The Hollow Men” reliesnon 417 words, 187 different ones, anmere 65 of which constitute threequartersnof the poem.nThese are radiant details, gatherednby a lifetime’s exploration and tinkering,nactions that underlie so-calledn”cultural literacy.” Kenner, not drawingnundue attention to his cleverness innhaving ferreted out such facts, is quicknto point out that in themselves theyncontain no great truths; singly, they arenonly curiosities. But draw such oddmentsntogether, Kenner instructs, andnyou have the thread leading throughnNOVEMBER 1989/39n