The author, currently Algeria's foreign minister and a member of the High Council of State, grapples with the question of how countries in the Islamic world can get their bearings in an era when old ideologies and one-party systems have been discredited. His harshest criticism is directed at those who seek to use Islam to mobilize people by offering false hopes that faith will bring solutions to deep-seated problems of society. Instead, he argues that Third World countries have no alternative but to become part of the modern world by relying on reason and rationality to adapt their historical experiences to the needs of the present. In his overview of the Algerian revolution, he argues that it was this ability to guide the revolution by reason that made it genuinely popular. Contesting views were debated and accommodated, and decisions were made by voting. One senses nostalgia for those heroic days in this difficult essay by a leading Algerian politician.