In contrast to Dilip Hiro's Dictionary of the Middle East,1 dealt with in the previous MEQ,2 this one is written by twenty authors, not one, and it (fortunately) adheres to the traditional rules of providing accurate facts and steering clear of opinions. It has the added virtue of being well-written. The Encyclopedia's geographic coverage extends from Morocco to Iran, with an emphasis on the usual countries (while Yemen as a whole, for example, is well covered, Yemeni politicians lack individual entries; in contrast those of individual Israelis and Egyptians abound). Information on the Arab-Israeli conflict and peacemaking are particularly long and detailed, providing a fine overview of the whole issue—an orientation that may have something to do with the fact that the authors all reside in Israel. The tome is not cheap but if it comes out in an affordable paperback version, it can well become the standard one-volume reference work on Middle Eastern politics.
1 New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
2 Nicole Brackman, "The Saga of a Biased Dictionary," MEQ, Dec. 1998, pp. 67-71.