Professor Daryush Shayegan's book is a major contribution to what is perhaps the most critical debate within the Muslim world today: the relationship between its own culture and the influence of Western modernity. Based on examples ranging from Iran to Morocco, the author portrays a society he defines as peripheral - bound by a slavish adherence to its own glorified history, its "Tradition" - yet facing an external reality that derives from the West. The meeting of these two incompatible worlds leads to a profound distortion not only in how the Muslim world sees the West but, more importantly, in how it sees itself. Shayegan draws on a vast range of cultural experiences (from China and Japan to India and Latin America) in analyzing the type of mentality that is chained to its history. Sources as diverse as Jung and Octavio Paz widen the scope of this illuminating text.