There is without question immense general and academic interest in theIslamic world at present. After the attacks on New York and Washington inSeptember 2001 and the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamic Fundamentalism has come to be seen by many people in the West as the primary threat to worldpeace. Although not all scholars would agree that we are heading for a Clashon Civilizations between Islam and the West, few would dispute that Islamicand Western cultures have evolved very differently. It is impossible to have areal understanding of current Islam without first understanding the historicalperspective. Malise Ruthven, author of many acclaimed works on Islam and theIslamic world, including Fundamentalism , A Fury of God: The Islamist Attackon America , and Islam: A Very Short Introduction , and a regular commentatorin the print and broadcast media, is ideally placed to provide thisperspective. Thoroughly researched and very well written, the Historical Atlasof the Islamic World is concise, accessible, and authoritative.