Lutz Kleveman gives us an overview of the region with colour, vitality, intrigue and passion. He has an obvious enthusiasm for the region, and its people, and a keen sense of adventure.
It is a cliche to refer to a rich tapestry of life and yet this is what is so clearly displayed here.
It is so much more than a book about the history and culture and politics of any indivisual country in the region, or a guidebook can be. It gives you an overall sweep of the politics, the power struggles and the spehers of influence of the region.
One has no sense of any one country being bad or good so much as nation states jostling for power and influence across a huge disparate landsacpe and over a region so rich in oil and gas that it is largest reserve in the world.