I would like to think it will help to fill a large gap in people’s knowledge of what is happening in Iraq and Syria and the Middle East as a whole. It is not that newspaper, radio and television reporting of crises in the Middle East are necessarily wrong, but that the quality and quantity of the information conveyed is limited by the very urgency and brevity of daily reporting. This simply cannot explain something as complex as the reasons behind the rise of Islamic State. The only way this can be done is by means of well-informed and up-to-date books. Reading them is not just the best way of understanding what is happening; it is the only way of doing so. Schools, universities and even publishers don’t make this point strongly enough.

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