A much needed book an area that is in the news today. It starts with a background summary of the region, a description of its topography, and then presents an introduction to each country, starting with Egypt and working south. The format is simple and allows for specific details as well as general information, including geographic features, history, government, and through the device of autobiographical sketches- a sense of close range views of each country is achieved. Through a boy or girl living there we are told of the customs, language, holidays, religion, school and family life which is handled without artificiality. Sometimes two sides of the picture are shown through the words of- for example as ? as Asian, a colored girl in the Republic of South Africa. There are 26 stories in all, fifth volume in a superior series.