I have long sought a book to explain what I thought was the source of most conflict in the Middle East: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I obtained Inside the Middle East Entering A New Era and thought I would find the explanation I was looking for. This book gave me so much more than I expected! Mr. Melamed is not only a skilled writer, but an excellent educator! There are so many layers to the power struggles and conflicts in the Middle East that a casual observer can’t fathom. Mr. Melamed presents an overall picture of a complicated area and then peels back the layers that hide the true motivations of the players in this region. He uses concise historical thumbnails of Middle Eastern countries that give the reader an understanding of how and why they are where they are today without losing the reader in a sea of confusing detail. The index in the back of the book with an alphabetical listing of key individuals, organizations and concepts is incredibly helpful as a reference point as one is reading the book. I give Mr. Melamed great credit for his intimate understanding of the Middle East and his ability to convey his knowledge in an understandable form to his readers.