What is it about the region that provokes intense sectarian passions, prompting seemingly endless vendettas? "Kingmakers," by Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, tells the story of British and American entanglement and how the modern Middle East was invented. It also offers an exemplary history of hubris.
With religious passions inflaming and complicating politics worldwide, the very project of a secular future is threatened. In "The Stillborn God," Mark Lilla reveals the roots of the age-old quest to bring political life under God's authority. He also explores how modern Western thinkers found a way to free politics from theological power and build barriers against destructive religious fanaticism.