I took up this book after listening to Zealot by the same author. That was quite a book and very enlightening.
This book on Islam is also enlightening. I was prepared to be disappointed either because the author would be somehow Blind or that the book would otherwise be second-rate.
However, clearly Mohammad was a decent person, and clearly Islam is a legitimate faith and not some mishmash dreamed up more than a thousand years ago.
When Mohammad was alive, he got along just fine with the Jewish folk!
What happened to Islam was the problem of succession to Mohammad. Complexities due to special interests of the original business and government leaders of Mecca and a variety of other groups disputing control affect Islam to this day.
There is a lot of detailed understanding in this book that explains modern Islam such that it can be understood justly. There is an explanation of the Taliban and Al Quaida as a reaction more to Saudi Arabia (and the extraordinary hypocrisy of its leaders' materialism and its extremely strict Puritanical Wahhabi sect of Islam) than to the United States!
Mentioned in passing is that the American Center for Disease Control and the American Type Culture Control (.org on the web) provided the chemical and biological materials used by Saddam Hussein for use on the Iranians to such horrific effect some years ago.
The author Reza Aslan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The narrator was most excellent.
This book has made so much that has mystified me about the middle east, Muslim behavior, and Arabic culture so much clearer. It really helps understand events in the middle east and worry about whether solutions can be arrived at. Living in Kuwait, this has opened my eyes to things I didn't understand in my everyday dealings and observations of the Kuwaitis and other middle easterners. This book is spot-on!