Part one of a proposed series, this runs through the relationship between the US and the Middle East touching on Gilgamesh, the medieval Mediterranean and Abu Ghraib. It is essentially a linear history, from 1783, and the first attacks on US shipping by Barbary pirates, to 1953, when the CIA overthrew Prime Minister Mossadegh of Iran. Filiu is a former diplomat and a professor, David B is an artist and writer responsible for the brilliant, troubling memoir Epileptic. The latter\'s black-and-white drawings are typically surreal, enlivening Filiu\'s history: three-faced British generals illustrate the Balfour declaration, ships swirl around a Libyan envoy\'s turban and prospectors grub, nose first, in the desert sands for oil. It\'s a depressing tale, told in often savage panels. Unsurprisingly, given its pace and focus (the Iranian coup takes up almost a third of its 114 pages), at times you yearn for a wider context. But this timely, beautifully drawn account provides a wonderfully involving history lesson.