I cannot recommend Karen Armstrong highly enough. She is, in my mind, a religious/historical scholar of lasting significance (with a life story to match). I’ve read and reread her “History of God” and I think it should be recommended reading for everyone taking any kind of cultural/social/religious/historical study in University. I also think that one of her follow-up books – “The Battle for God” is a flawless historical review of the rise of fundamentlism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A must-read if you want to have any kind of intelligent understanding of what’s going on with the U.S., Israel and the Middle East.

Finally, Ms. Armstrong has written about her own personal journey from her life as a nun to the present – one book I have not yet read that I can hardly wait to dig into (too many other things on the go right now).

If “Buddha” is anything like the first two books I mentioned, then it will be dense, and perhaps slow-going, but rewarding in the end.