For forty years V. S. Naipaul has been traveling and, through his writing, creating one of the most wide-ranging and sustained meditations on our world. Now, for the first time, his finest shorter pieces of reflection and reportage -- nearly all of them heretofore out of print -- are collected in one volume. With an abiding faith in the redemptive power of modernity balanced by a sense of wonder about the past, Naipaul has explored an astonishing variety of societies and peoples through the many-sided prism of his own experience. Whether writing about the Muslim invasions of India, Mobutu's mad reign in Zaire, or the New York mayoral elections, he has demonstrated again and again that no one has a shrewder intuition of the ways in which power works, of the universal relation of the exploiter and the exploited. And no one has put forth a more consistently eloquent defense of the dignity of the individual and the value of civilization. Infused with a deeply felt humanism,The Writer and the Worldattests powerfully not only to Naipaul's status as the great English prose stylist of our time but also to his keen, often prophetic, understanding.