Participating on book award juries takes a lot of time and is often emotionally difficult as you struggle to do justice to many fine books. This year I was asked to serve as a juror for Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s annual book prize and as usual there were many more first class books than we had prizes to distribute. Out of a wide selection of engrossing books from scholarly tracts to journalistic adventures, three books were chosen for the top prizes. The Longest War, an excellent account of the rise of Al Qaeda and the war on terrorism by Peter Bergen, claimed the top spot. Frequent Pajamas Media commentator and occasional TAI contributor Michael Totten won second prize and deservedly takes home high praise for The Road to Fatima Gate.The third prize went to Awakening Islam: The Politics of Contemporary Religious Dissent in Saudi Arabia. Written by Stéphane Lacroix, this is an extremely detailed and scholarly study of a world that is little known to western readers and makes a lot of what we read in the newspapers and even in some journals seem naive and uninformed.Read more about the winners here, and congratulations to the authors. And Via Meadia readers who read all three of these books will significantly enhance their understanding of the region and of the world.