Georges Roux, who died recently at a good old age, was a remarkable man. He was an Anglophile French doctor who worked in Iraq many years ago for an international oil company. While in Iraq and later, he was fascinated by the epic history of the Mesopotamian civilizations that succeeded one another over three thousand years. As a non-specialist, he appreciates the difficulties of the ordinary reader when confronted with a subject whose ancient history, languages, literature and archaeology are all difficult, specialist fields. He wrote the book for Penguin Books in English from the outset, and since it sold very well Penguin came back to him for revised editions. He had a great range of contacts, and his revisions were first-class. The last revised edition is up to date to the time of the Gulf War, since when there has been no further archaeological work in Iraq. I read this book when it first came out. I teach the subject at university level, and I have always recommended it as an excellent and thorough introduction. It reads very well, and contains a wealth of information that is put over with great clarity. People to whom I have recommended it have come back and told me how good a book they think it is.