A rambling characterization of four ""emerging"" countries--Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya--that share a common language and religion and the fact of recent independence. The history of the region from its Berber beginnings to the recent past is told in the largest section, and although there is an attempt to distinguish one country (or area) from another, the narrative is diffused; the individual volumes in the Land and People series provide more meaningful coverage. Religious practices, the Arabic language and ""daily life"" (especially for teenagers) are also approached and each country and its main cities are examined individually. Trivial details (Mohammed V died ""following minor surgery on his nose"") are prevalent and many of the generalizations are dubious (""Arabs are by nature an emotional people""; or the suggestions of animism in Germanic legend ""probably prepared the Berbers to accept the animism of the black people who had remained behind in Mediterranean Africa and with whom they intermarried""). In addition to the more substantial books above, the chapters in, say, Murphy's Understanding Africa are as current and the somewhat outdated (1966) Thompson Africa: Past and Present has more reliable and flavored capsules.