The book under review here is to be compared with the volume published over ten years ago under the editorship of Michael Cook, Studies in the economic history of the Middle East (London, 1970). It covers essentially the same subject over the same period of time in the same fashion, by a series of papers contributed to a major international conference. It differs first of all in the length of time it has taken to produce the work, seven years from the original conference at Princeton in 1974, compared with three from the conference at S.O.A.S. in 1967 to the publication of the earlier collection. It is in fact much longer, with more space and time allowed to the contributors to rewrite their papers and annotate them, in great and often discursive detail. The editor is to be complimented on the very high standard of the production of the mammoth tome which results. The weight is heavily on the countryside and the agricultural economy; neither trade, nor industry, nor urban life make much of an appearance except as their adjuncts. Only historical demography (4 articles) stands in any way as a separate subject. More usual is the emphasis upon Egypt, which once again receives the greatest attention, in ten or eleven out of the total twenty-four contributions. Atypical as the Nile valley may seem, its source materials continue to influence the pattern of research in the much wider field of the book's title. Elsewhere it is something of a shock to find, in the papers of Morony on seventh-century Iraq, Talbi on ninth-century Ifrīqiya, Burns on fourteenth-century Valencia, and Rafeq on eighteenth-century Syria, the wealth of detail that comes from a legal literature, an archive or court records, and to realize how few and far between such studies are outside Egypt.