The subjects and the author give an adequate picture of the scope and quality of this volume shows how well established European fascination with the cultures and peoples of the Indian Ocean was by the sixteenth century. The story of European exploration, exploitation, and, ultimately, colonial domination of the Indian Ocean region is now well known. Rather than revisiting that history, look at the cultures and societies of the Indian Ocean region from the perspective of the people who lived in them. Although focusing on particular regions –chiefly Persia /modern-day Iran, India, and Indonesia-- we will approach the Indian Ocean as a cultural, social, and political realm whose various regions were closely interconnected, an approach that we will realize through studying events unfolding between 1500-1950 from the perspective social networks. This world may seem distant from us, in time and space. It is in fact very much with us, though, as a glance at current conflicts between India and Pakistan as well as unrest in Indonesia and the shape of Iranian society show all too well. So I'm glad that each of you has booked a place in what promises to be a very interesting journey.