This book will be of value to students and scholars but the average reader would find it heavy going, which is unfortunate at this moment, when the timeliness of the subject would tend to make it in great demand. It is an authoritative history of the Islamic people from pre-Muhammed (his spelling) days to 1939, published in Germany before World War II. Brookelmann discussed with scrupulous detail the early history of the independent Arab states, social customs, religion, geography and poetry. He writes of the Prophet's life and analyzes his religious credo. After his death, the history is one of conquest, internal strife, greed, uprisings, feuds and a succession of rulers who spread the faith by the sword. As they absorbed the culture of other nations, they developed an interest in science, philosophy, architecture. With the rise of the Turkish generals to power, the Muslims were plagued by taxes, factional strife, controversy. Those chapters dealing with the infiltration of Europeans into the Near East in the 19th and 20th century give insight into many of the problems of the Middle East today -- and alone, of the whole, strikes a note of immediate interest. Primarily a reference book.