As American occupation of Iraq moves into a seventh year, it's startling how little U.S. citizens know about the region and its history. Nardo's series on ancient Mesopotamia, part of Lucent's Library of Historical Eras, provides engaging and accessible information on the peoples and cultures that inhabited what is modern-day Iraq. In the introduction to Life and Worship in Ancient Mesopotamia, Nardo reminds readers that “the past is present” in this region, noting that the basic architecture, the urban markets and the reliance on deeply-help religious beliefs to cope with frequent wars. Subsequent chapters detail daily life, including housing, family life, economic life, slavery, games, sports and travel and religion. The short chapters feature frequent sidebars of high-interest information, such as the popularity of beer, a recipe for bird stew, a lullaby for a prince and Mesopotamian exorcisms.