“There are as many impressions of the Middle East as there are visitors fortunate enough to travel there, and this book earnestly and engagingly samples a wide swath of them." — Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us. A dizzying amount of media coverage bombards us from the Middle East, yet little filters through about the experiences of ordinary people. Encounters with the Middle East tells their stories through interactions with 30 writers who go beyond the usual reporting to reveal the simple and poignant ways that life goes on. These writers’ experiences with the people and places of the region remind us that the Middle East is blessed with astounding cultural and historical treasures, and offer moving glimpses of lives unfolding behind the headlines.