Looking back on the time I spent at university studying English literature, one thing I’m really glad about is that I didn’t bother reading much critical theory. This was because I didn’t think post-structuralism or deconstruction, as I understood them, had much to say about the books I was reading. In a general history of the conflict between Christendom and Islam they have even less application, though Andrew Wheatcroft tries his best to involve Lacan, Derrida, Genette and the rest. The book’s emphasis is on the words and images used to describe the Other, with the clash of civilizations seen through the lens of culture. A worthwhile approach, though one that doesn’t result in any particularly new conclusions.