Gr 8 Up-Each of these volumes presents a cogent overview of its respective country. Excellent-quality photos and reproductions appear throughout. What distinguishes these titles from similar country books is the detailed examination of the many ways Islam has influenced the culture and politics. Throughout the chapters on history, people, economy, and foreign relations, the importance of the religion is emphasized in every aspect of life. Valliant presents a good discussion of the significance of Islam in the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent nation. In Afghanistan, Whitehead includes an informative section about the Taliban and how it came to power. The material in both volumes is quite current (as of mid-2004), making these good choices for updating nonfiction collections.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.