The former Soviet republics of Central Asia comprise a sprawling, politically pivotal, densely populated, and richly cultured area of the world. Yet they remain poorly represented in libraries and mainstream media. Since their political inception during the rule of Joseph Stalin, they have experienced tremendous socio-political change. But despite this, the growth of oil wealth, the arrival of Western tourists and businessmen, and the competition for influence by the U.S., China and Russia, the spirit of Central Asia has remained untouched at its core. In this comprehensive up-to-date survey, renowned political writer and historian Dilip Hiro offers a lucid analytical narrative that places the present-day politics, economics and peoples of Central Asia and neighbouring Turkey and Iran into an international context. Given the strategic location of this region, its predominantly Muslim population, and its hydrocarbon and other valuable resources, it is not surprising that this vast expanse of Eurasia is emerging as one of the most potentially influential - and coveted - areas of the globe.