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A Concise History of the Middle East Paperback – July 22, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0813342757 ISBN-10: 0813342759 Edition: Eighth Edition, Eighth Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press; Eighth Edition, Eighth Edition edition (July 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813342759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813342757
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lively, involving text." -- -Midwest Book Review

"An eminently readable and comprehensive text that gives an accurate and analytical account of Near East history." -- -Lawrence Davidson, West Chester University Praise for earlier editions

"An invaluable introduction and a useful reference book." -- -Journal of Palestine Studies

"Excellent. Nice active voice, engaging, comprehensive, balanced. Particularly the coverage on early Islam." -- -Gina Cirali, Fordham University

"The best single source I have found to introduce undergraduates to the Middle East." -- -Geraldine Forbes, State University of New York at Oswego

"This excellent history provides an informative and balanced background." -- -Booknotes

"Well organized... Straightforward and easy to follow." -- -Choice --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Arthur Goldschmidt Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Middle East History at Pennsylvania State University. He is (with Lawrence Davidson) the author of A Concise History of the Middle East, Eighth Edition, and is the author as well of Modern Egypt: Foundation of a Nation-State, Second Edition. He is the recipient of the Amoco Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 2000 Middle East Studies Association Mentoring Award. Lawrence Davidson is Professor of History at West Chester University. He is the author of several books, including America's Palestine and Islamic Fundamentalism.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book as an introductory to the history of the "middle east."
Thamanjimmy
Mr. Goldschmidt provides the reader a building platform to understand the Middle East, a great reference book and an avenue for more detailed reading.
Daniel Hurley
It is extremely biased and the author on many instances goes way over the line into editorializing.
Tim James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
This extremely readable textbook by Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. was assigned reading for my course at NYU about the history of the Middle East. This latest edition was published in 1998. Naturally there have been changes since then. But this, after all, is a history textbook. I can read about current events in the newspapers. What this book did was to give me that background. And it certainly is a rich background, one that I never knew before.
In clear descriptive language the author describes the Middle East before and after Muhammad and the basic beliefs of Islam. He talks about the early Arab conquests and the differences between Islamic sects. He describes the various empires and discusses the role of European interests and westernizing influences. And he gives the reader a really good understanding of the various the countries and their shifting borders. Finally, he brings us up to date on the causes and conflicts of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Gulf War. It is all fascinating stuff and I soaked it all up, reading quickly and absorbing the context, rather than the details. Not a shabby accomplishment for only 362 pages. Recommended.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on March 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Very informative book written by a man who can write to the masses in that he can explain detail of Middle East life, countries, religion and conflicts in terminology that is not too academic but inspiring to read. There is quite a bit of information provided by Goldschmidt who eases the burden of religious Middle East language (foreign to many of Americans) with a glossary for various words, names of leaders, places and things. He includes a historical timeline chart of the great events of the Middle East including excellent maps that keep the reader in place geographically as he covers the evolution of the Middle East by region, dynasties and individual countries. He starts with the definition of history and of the Arabs followed by the land before Muhammad and then a mini biography of Muhammad. What follows is a detailed but easy to read chapter on Islam and how it develops into a civilization. The expansiveness of Islam in the Middle East and the associated power of the Ottoman empire that threatened to dominate Europe and Asia. He covers the invasion of the Mongol hordes and the eventual investitures of the European powers and colonialism as the Ottoman Empire weakens to collapse after WWI. As he writes of the dominance in controling the Middle East by England and France and the initial settling of Jews in the early 1900's the seeds of distrust of the west start to obviously emanate. The term concise history is a bit misleading because Goldschmidt leads his student through WWII and its effect on the Middle East and the birth of Israel and Arab conflict. He also covers the surrogate relationship of English and France in trying to maintain control of trade routes, the Suez Canal and oil along with the USSR attempting to expand into the region.Read more ›
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Carol B. on June 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read Bernard Lewis and so many others, I can't remember them all. I spend a lot of my free time reading about the Middle East, as my family comes from Iraq. This is the one I recommend for those interested in a general overview of the Middle East without being bogged down by all the caliphs and names of tribes that make other books more complicated (and dull). Read this first, then if you want to delve into more detail this book will guide you to more in-depth reading material. If you know the Middle East very well, and understand its history, then move on. Most people do not know the M. East history as well as Goldschmidt, however, and his balanced view is refreshing.
I have given this book away as gifts and the recipients who read it have praised it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roger on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dr. Goldschmidt does an exceptional job of covering one of the more misunderstood regions of the past half century. Seldom does anyone write a book on the Middle East that is not seen as biased by some, however, this is as balanced an effort as I have read and as concise as practical. I highly recommend 'A Concise History of the Middle East' to anyone who is interested in learning why this region is such a difficult and complex part of our world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on November 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apparently a number of reviewers struggle with the tone and apparent "bias" of Goldschmidt. I was suprised at these accusations as Goldschmidt, in my opinion, presents the issues and perspectives of the various peoples, factions and religions in as fair a manner as is possible, given the tremendous diversity in the region. The first half of the book, detailing the birth, spread and rise of non-Arab empires (the Mongol, Safavid and Ottoman empires) is a bit rushed - I wish greater attention was given the intellectual achievements of the era, but as the title states, it is a *concise* history.

The history really hits its stride mid-way through, as Goldschmidt disucsses the politics of the Middle East in the 20th century. The reasons behind Middle Eastern anti-westernism are complicated; the web of resentments, issues, past slights and mis-interpretations are difficult to clearly explain. In a little over 100 pages, the main points are well laid out, and provide a solid foundation for further study. To summarize, the European "mandate system" driven by British and French imperial designs in the region, in addition to the cultural and economic disparities between urban and rural parts of the Middle East and competing visions among Arabs themselves of what the region should look like (particularly a "pan-Arab" nation led by whom? Egypt? Syria? ) and mis-steps by the United States all conspired to create a wide variety of competing and often hostile camps that perpetuate instability to this day.

I was particularly impressed with Godlschmidt's history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its relation to Arab power politics between Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The perspectives and attitudes between nations and their leaders were clearly and concisely laid out.
Read more ›
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