I wouldn't recommend The Cartoons that Shook the World as a page turner.. although its subject might well have lent itself to such a treatment. Its strength is in its methodical treatment of the Danish cartoon crisis. You probably recall how those cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad stirred up the world from fall 2005 to spring 2006. This book works to give an inside examination of the principal actors in the extended drama. Jytte Klausen, as Dane and scholar of contemporary Islam, was perfectly positioned to take up this subject.
I find myself thinking about how and why cartoons published in a modest-sized European newspaper (Jyllands-Posten, or "Jutland Post") came to capture the attention of such a large portion of the world. An event like this isn't really about the cartoons, but about shared perceptions and anxieties. The cartoons were a symbolically "hooked" item to which different parties could attach grievances and fears.
I find myself thinking about the O.J. Simpson trial back in the 90s. Obviously, quite different issue at the center of controversy (a murder in that case). But the national fascination with the trial was not about the crime per se, but about racial anxieties more generally (stereotypes of Blacks, perceptions of police and justice system). The trial was similarly symbolically "hooked," and many people saw their own anxieties mirrored in the sensational trial. Thus the whole thing was blown up into something much larger than it would have been by a straightforward analysis of facts.
The Danish cartoons likewise captured attention through their connection to deep anxieties. What is perhaps unique about them, though, is that these anxieties were not those of any one nation. People around the world were befuddled by the O.J. Simpson uproar. But these cartoons revealed deeply held trans-national anxieties. It was not about the sensibilities of Muslims vs. right wing bigots in Denmark.. which would have been of rather limited interest for anyone outside Denmark. But somehow that issue was felt to be a stand-in for the feelings of Muslims all over Europe.. and more broadly all over the world (with respect to perceptions of an East-West divide in power and status). The cartoon controversy thus gives us notice that the world is coming to share a set of anxieties.. and a local crisis is perfectly able to go "viral."
An interesting fact about The Cartoons that Shook the World (much lamented by reviewers on Amazon) is that the cartoons in question were not reprinted in the book. Since this is a scholarly book of record for an important global event, I see that as a mistake on the part of Yale University Press.