This is an exciting work, as admirable for its penetration into the spirit of the Arab peoples as for its historical and military scholarship. General Glubb, the author, spent thirty years among the Arabs as a British officer, absorbed their language and almost petrified mores, and has had the advantage of studying the land's terrain in relation to its history with a living immediacy as yet unexploited by any other Western observer. Although the Western world has advanced in its modes of civilization during the past fifteen centuries, the Arab peoples still exist in much the same manner and setting as at the height of their conquests during the tumultuous half century 630-680 A.D. They were, and are, more reliant upon individual courage than upon technological innovation, and are superlative horsemen, bowmen, swordsmen and lancers. Their chief genius is for poetry and their history is a matter of oral tradition (unencumbered by a passion for exactitude). They have always looked to themselves for their own protection and for rough justice based on the Judaic eye-for-an-eye tenet. General Glubb's present volume covers the first great period of religious enthusiasm and the rise of Muhammed, upon which the conquests were built and before the Arabs became uninterested in maintaining the merely political machinery of their jerrybuilt empire. Unlike the scrupulous Romans, they kept few records of their conquests and simply went out and conquered everything in sight, leaving the tally to Allah.