Isobel Coleman is senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (an independent, non-partisan organization not affiliated with the U.S. Govt.). This book is the result of nearly a decade of travel, study, interviews, and writing about women in the Middle East. Paradise Beneath Her Feet is an overview of both the history and current state of affairs with regard to women's rights in the Middle East. Each chapter is devoted to one of the major Middle Eastern nations. Issues are complex and progress is slow, but courageous and persistent women in these countries are speaking out for fair treatment and equal rights. They arm themselves with verses from the Quran which call for justice and nonviolence toward women. The key challenge lies in disentangling cultural traditions from the actual tenets of Islam. Many of the restrictions placed on women in the name of Islam come from primitive beliefs not supported by the Quran. As these women become literate and study the Quran on their own, they are able to show that many Muslim family laws are not defensible using holy scripture.