This long-time best-seller uses a thematic, rather than country-by-country, approach to the region in an analysis that is at once comprehensive and, at the same time, does not underestimate the intelligence of the college audience. The authors wrote this book because there were no introductory texts taking a holistic perspective on the region. This book employs a multidisciplinary approach (political science, economics, history, anthropology) to explain the current political dynamics of the region. It avoids a country-by-country approach in favor of a thematic approach that integrates regional experiences into a whole. Major themes include political development, economic development, international relations, Islam - mainstream and jihadist, colonialism and post-colonialism; and recent political changes, with particular emphasis on the U.S. intervention in Iraq and the rising interest in democracy regionally.