Upbeat: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq by Paul MacAlindin. Dufour Editions, 318 pages, $32. A Scottish conductor recounts his efforts to build and sustain a youth orchestra—overcoming deficits in local training and instrument quality, balancing the needs of Arabs and Kurds—in one of the most politically fraught environments imaginable. The National Youth Orchestra of Iraq debuted in 2009, and during its five-year lifespan had significant success, artistic and educational, in Britain, Germany, France, and the Kurdish city of Erbil. A planned U.S. tour in early 2014 was frustrated by bureaucracy, Iraqi politics, and U.S. security concerns, and the orchestra disbanded that year. As MacAlindin writes near the end of the book, “It says rather too much about me, and social entrepreneurs in general, that I never really gave up until the perfect storm … brought us down.” That the NYOI story is ultimately “upbeat” can be found in the moving testimonials from alumni, and in the dedication, camaraderie, and joy documented in many of the book’s photographs.