In The Brief History of the Middle East author Christopher Catherwood attempts to show how our entire world is ultimately shaped by events that have unfolded or have their origin in the Middle East. Catherwood insists that, unless we allow ignorance to blind us—which to a certain extent it already has—the Middle East must not be viewed as "some strange place over there." Three of the world's major organized religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—all stem from the area, as do defining civilizations from Ancient Egypt to Babylonia. Catherwood examines this storied region through the lens of the present by asking these questions. How did the Palestinian issue arise? Why does Osama bin Laden harp on the glories of Moorish Spain? Why did Islamic extremism come to be a substitute for Arab socialist nationalism for so many? Today's headlines have clear historical explanations, and The Brief History of the Middle East will bring that concept into focus.