A succinct and authoritative overview of the making of the modern Middle East, Mehran Kamrava’s book “The Modern Middle East” brings a valuable mix of historical perspectives and contemporary analysis to readers seeking expert knowledge about this troubled and fascinating region. Giving a rich perspective on the region’s historical and political evolution, the book traces the influence of factors such as religion, culture, and economics and illuminates events and topics currently in the news. Kamrava sets the stage with a concise discussion of the evolution of Islam and the religion’s profound role in the region. He looks at the rise and fall of the Ottomans, the trials of independence and state-building, the emergence and fiery spread of nationalism, the two Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, the Iranian Revolution, and the two Gulf Wars and beyond, including discussion of the invasion of Iraq by the United States. After tracing the consequences of these historical events, Kamrava gives detailed attention to three pivotal issues: the challenges of economic development, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the question of democracy. He also examines issues that will shape the future: population growth, environmental pollution, and water scarcity.