Michael Cook developed an early ambition to become a historian of the Middle East. While an undergraduate at King’s College, Cambridge, he pursued this objective by combining a Part One in History with a Part Two in Oriental Studies. He then embarked on research on the economic history of the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Thereafter his interests shifted, first to the formation of the Islamic world, and then to the macro-history of the Islamic concept of “commanding right and forbidding wrong”. From 1966 to 1986 he was a lecturer, then reader, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; in 1986 he moved to the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton. In addition to his research projects, he has written a short introduction to the Koran and a brief world history. He is currently working on a one-volume history of the Islamic world covering the period from 600 to 1800.