This was recommended as background reading for a student going to study Arabic at university. I'm not an Arabic student but started reading her copy and couldn't stop. I feel I know more than I did about a complicated area of contemporary importance. It is concise, it is clear. It was written a while ago and much has happened in the Middle East since then but it is still worth reading. No one book can explain the problems in the Middle East but this is a good start for those who are interested in trying to understand.