This book was written prior to Sept 11 2003 but is still a fantastic read. It talks about the slow gradual decline (relative) of the Islamic world, where once it was the centre of human achievement - the foremost military and economic power in the world. Where (Christian) Europe was seen as a remote land filled barbarians. Everything changed over time however, and soon the Islamic world turned to the West for military equipment (when Europe wasn’t beating upon them that is), and scientific knowledge.
Most Islamic modernizers - Bernard argues - concentrated their efforts on three main categories: military, economic and political with very little success. It will be interesting to see what happens in the near future (Iraq for example).