"What Went Wrong: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East" by Bernard Lewis. Very interesting, well-written book. In the Middle Ages, the Middle East far exceeded Europe's abilities in science, literature, philosophy, military strength, etc. Without providing an definitive answers, Lewis provides a balanced look at what changed (or didn't) in the Middle East as Europe took and held the lead in military strength, technology, etc. Engaging reading.
"Most books on what may be the largest financial fraud in American history focus primarily on Madoff himself...Not this one. [This] is the first book to focus in detail on his victims and to tell the story of how they became involved in the scheme; their financial contributions, expectations and actual losses (now estimated at eighteen billion dollars)...and what this disaster has meant for their lives and their trust in others." --Patricia Donovan, University of Buffalo