This is a book about one of the more important and unsettling issues of our time. But it is not a book of opinion. It is, in the Naipaul way, a very rich and human book, full of people and their stories: stories of family, both broken and whole; of religion and nation; and of the constant struggle to create a world of virtue and prosperity in equal measure.
Islam is an Arab religion, and it makes imperial Arabizing demands on its converts. In this way it is more than a private faith; and it can become a neurosis. What has this Arab Islam done to the histories of the non-Arab Islamic states: Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia? How do the converted peoples view their past - and their future?