This work from Munier, vice president of the Franco-Iraqi Institute for Economic Cooperation, betrays the French view of recent events in the Middle East. Its usefulness, however, lies in its offering an excellent introduction to Iraq's 4000-year history and culture. One chapter provides a historical overview of Iraq from the days of Sumer to World War II, and another covers the period from the Revolution of 1958 to the present. Archaeological sites, monuments, and landmarks of all regions of Iraq are covered, with an emphasis on Baghdad and other major cities. Within the narrative are interspersed accounts of historical figures such as the prophet Abraham, the sultan Saladin, and the mystic Al-Hajjaj and information about minority sects like the Mandeans. There is a chapter on the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. The text is extensively illustrated by Bonnier's beautiful full-color photographs of historical landmarks and antiquities. Features like a glossary, sidebars with statistics, schematic maps, a list of relevant web sites, and the book's compact size make this a timely, useful choice for anyone interested in learning more about Iraq. Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.