Kenneth Perkins' book traces the history of Tunisia from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. After initially examining the years of French colonial rule from 1881 to 1956, when the Tunisians achieved independence, he describes the subsequent process of state-building, including the design of political and economic structures and the promotion of a social and cultural agenda. In conclusion, Perkins reviews the years since 1987, when a new regime came to power. Perkins' informed introduction is a necessity for those who study the region, and also for travellers who want more comprehensive information than most guidebooks offer. Kenneth Perkins is Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He has worked extensively on North Africa and his research has taken him across the region. His publications include two editions of the Historical Dictionary of Tunisia (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997, 1989), Port Sudan: The Evolution of a Colonial City (Westview Press, 1993), Tunisia: Crossroads of the Islamic and European Worlds (Westview Press, 1986), and Qaids, Captains & Colons: French Military Administration in the Colonial Maghrib, 1844-1934 (Africana Pub, 1981).