At first glance the history of relations between Europe and Islam seems to be filled only with armed conflict, victories, and defeats-a record that would confirm the idea of an implacable hostility between two civilizations that has endured for centuries and today manifests itself in the terrorist acts of radical Muslims and their organizations. But an attentive and objective study of this history reveals numerous features of peaceful coexistence, mutual influence, and cooperation. The "fault lines" between the two cultures have been not only battlefields but also marketplaces and other meeting points that have fostered an exchange of goods, cultural values, and ideas. Ilya Gaiduk's The Great Confrontation offers a comparative approach to the long and complex history of relations between Europe and Islam, from the early seventh century to the present day. The book differs from other works in its greater emphasis on Russia as part of European civilization and on Russian relations with Islam. Mr. Gaiduk argues that twentieth-century developments have made "the great confrontation" a phenomenon of the past, that in today's interrelated and interdependent world, lines of division run not between different civilizations but between civilization and the ills that threaten it-poverty, environmental pollution, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism. The success of the West in combating these ills depends upon the cooperation of different societies and cultures, not their antagonism. Illustrated with engravings and maps.