Now in its sixth edition, Middle East Patterns continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative geographical study of the region. Colbert C. Held and John Thomas Cummings introduce the Middle East from a topical perspective and then provide in-depth country-by-country coverage. The sixth edition maintains the book's well-received framework and distinctive focus on a wide range of geographical patterns—ethnographic, economic, and political—while integrating updated comparative material on natural resources and human and social development. New sections on health issues, business environments, and the historical US presence in the region expand the book's ample coverage. Richly illustrated with more than 125 photos and 70 maps, this acclaimed book remains the best accessible resource for students and general readers who seek to understand the spatial dynamics of the Middle East.

Visit for historical timelines, archived content from the fifth edition, and updated material on current situations in the Middle East.

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Reader Reviews


"A fine sourcebook and text on the Middle East."
The Professional Geographer

"If there is one book to read this year on the Middle East, this is the one!"

"…informative and instructive about a fascinating region."
Middle East Quarterly

“Contemporary, accessible and informative.”
—The Midwest Book Review

"This timely revision of this already highly regarded text is just what we need to keep us abreast of developments in the Middle East. The treatment of economic factors, including natural resources, ecology, and land use patterns, sheds much light on the potential for economic cooperation and competition in the region over the next decade. Combined with its concise summaries of the linguistic and cultural underpinnings of the area, this work provides us the background we need to place contemporary political developments in context."
Charles O. Cecil, US Ambassador, retired
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