Philip Robins’ survey of Jordan’s political history begins in the early 1920s, continues through the years of the British Mandate, and traces events over the next half-century to the present day. Throughout the period, the country’s fortunes were closely identified with its head of state, King Hussein, until his death in 1999. In the early days, as the author testifies, the King’s prospects were often regarded as grim. However, both King and country survived a variety of existential challenges, from assassination attempts and internal subversion, to a civil war with the Palestine Liberation Organisation and, in the 1970s and 1980s, it emerged as an apparently stable and prosperous state. However, King Hussein’s death, the succession of his son, Abdullah II, and recent political upheavals have plunged the country back into uncertainty. This is an incisive account, compellingly told, about one of the leading players in the Middle East.