Lewis is a noted expert in Middle Eastern history, religion, and culture who has authored a number of authoritative works, including The Cambridge History of Islam in its several editions. His new work should be required reading for all Westerners who have any serious interest in understanding how the history and religion of this dynamic area have led to very different interpretations of such traditional Western notions as nation, citizenship, and patriotism. Lewis ably communicates the primary importance of Islam in forming the core personal identity for area Muslims. This relatively uniform identity does not mean, however, that Islam has survived without the rise of numerous schisms or competing visions of Islam and its relation to the state. While the influence of Islam remains strong on most Muslims, Lewis maintains that several Muslim states, such as Egypt, have forged more of a nation state-type polity than others. The reader will appreciate even more how the State of Israel fits into this m?lange and why it has been so extremely difficult to build a lasting peace in the Middle East. Strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.