There is no similar one-volume encyclopedia available for this area. It differs from other general reference works, such as Europa's annual Middle East and North Africa , whose main emphasis is political and economic. The Cambridge volume, while similar in having both thematic and country chapters, provides significantly greater coverage of cultural and social topics, including art, music, etc. It has a more general thrust, should appeal to a broader audience, and does not need to be updated annually. Along with its copious illustrations and readable style, this book nicely complements the business/academic tone of the Europa publication and should be an especially welcome addition to school and general reference collections.-- Paul H. Thomas, Hoover Inst. Lib., Stanford, Cal.