This is a revamped version of Jack Smart's 1980s book on Arabic in the Teach Yourself series, and a great improvement. The earlier book was a thorough if rather unwieldy introduction to reading and writing Modern Standard Arabic, but this new version brings it into the spoken field without cutting corners on grammar. It sets out the verb very elegantly, and the typeface is clear throughout. Along with John Mace's Spoken Arabic, which however suffers from poor typeface, bad layout and some transliteration errors, this is a good recommendation for learning the language of the media and educated discourse. If you want to live in an Arabic-speaking country you'll have to learn the local colloquial, but mastering the Modern Standard first is still the best direction from which to approach it.