THE WESTERN READER - indeed, readers anywhere - could wish for neither a more humane nor a wiser or better-informed commentator on the region that is currently giving everyone so much of a headache than Bernard Lewis. Our greatest authority on the world of Islam has followed his recent series of best-selling books with this gathering of fifty-one essays from the past fifty-one years. And an enjoyable, as well as an enlightening, collection it turns out to be.
Not everyone will agree with my endorsement of Bernard Lewis. The late. Palestinian-born Professor Edward Said of Columbia university - who once called me 'a native informer' just because I didn't have many heroes in common with him - has some pretty