From the Great Pyramids to the Taj Mahal, the Middle East and India have for centuries lured Westerners to travel and have inspired their architecture, literature, music and fashion. The Orientalists pursues the richest era of this fascination, the mid to late nineteenth century, when American and European artists travelled and painted throughout the Holy Land and India. The highly cinematic images they created suggest a great influence on modern visual culture. Travel, art, geography, cultural perception, and social and military history are all woven through the text. An extensive introduction provides a digestible perspective on the evolution of Orientalism and the rise of Islam and its ever-changing relationship with the West. It is within this context that the author introduces us to Orientalist paintings. The author is well aware of September 11, 2001 and its implications on the book which was being researched and formulated in his mind before the horrific events which unfolded. He does not pretend there are answers to the contemporary Middle East problems, but there are insights to be formed in a careful examination of the past, as any historian well knows. In this regard, what is most astounding about the book is its unusual relevance to present-day geo-politics.