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Arab Seafaring: In the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times (Expanded Edition) Expanded edition with a New introduction, notes, and bibliography by John Carswell Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691000329
ISBN-10: 0691000328
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"All in all, this brief account is rich in the depth of its analyses and in the authoritative sources cited, both Western and Arab. . . . It is not likely that this superb work will be superseded in the near future."--Digest of Middle East Studies

"This reprint of Professor Hourani's elegant monograph forty-five years after its first publication is a tribute to the soundness of his original conception and the excellence of its presentation. Hardly a word seems to need emendation."--Asian Affairs

From the Back Cover


"In Arab Seafaring George Hourani reviews--crisply, comprehensively and authoritatively--the story of Arab trade routes and the ships that plied them, from earliest times to the Middle Ages. His book is as indispensable today as it was when first published forty years ago; there is no other that covers this significant martime history."--Lionel Casson, author of The Ancient Mariners


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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Expanded edition with a New introduction, notes, and bibliography by John Carswell edition (July 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691000328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691000329
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This classic masterpiece deserved reprinted more than anything else and it is done with an excellent expansion, especially on narrated accounts of travellers and geographers of the time. Inside you'll find an interesting correlation proposed between Islamic trading activities and their mastery of the Indian Ocean, its height and downfall until the 1000 AD. Buy it, especially if you're an Indonesian Muslim.
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This is a really interesting book on a subject that is hard to find in this country. However I have been more than little bit disappointed to find that he uses nearly exclusively European and American books and archeologists as sources. What are the chances that absolutely no academic work on their own history has been done by Arabs?
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George F. Hourani’s Arab Seafaring highlights the history of Arab sea trade in the Indian Ocean from ancient times to the early middle ages. Professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Hourani molds a compelling and comprehensive work in just over one hundred pages. Hourani’s goal is to not to cover the commercial and economic reasons behind these voyages, but rather to discuss and examine the ships and routes used by Arab traders. For example, Hourani states “If articles of Indian manufacture are found in Babylonia and dated to a certain period, well and good: but we still want to know whether they were carried there by Indians, Babylonians, or an intermediary nation like the Arabs of ‘Uman.” (Hourani, XV)
Arab Seafaring chronicles the history of Arab navigators and the Indian Ocean. Hourani begins with prehistory, but quickly moves into the period shortly before Alexander the Great and continues through the early Middle Ages. In the third chapter Hourani deviates from his chronological history and shifts to a discussion on ships and related topics such as halls, navigation, masts, and sails.
Hourani quickly takes his audience on a nautical journey through over 2,000 years of history. He wastes no time getting to the point of his work. From the first page to the last page, the reader is greeted with a plethora of names, dates, and places as Hourani masterfully reconstructs the history of Arab seafaring. This book is a great starting point for anyone interested in Arab or maritime history because it gives a tremendous introduction to a massive amount of information. This functions as a launching point for deeper study into the various topics and time periods that Hourani touches on throughout the work.
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Perhaps I'm writing this review without considering how important this work was when it was first published. For the contemporary reader, there's little in this book which someone interested in Indian Ocean maritime history probably has not yet come across. The final chapter does make some good points though.

Overall, well worth the read, even if it's a tad "out-dated".
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Thanks for sending this book in time for my class assignments. It was an interesting read and I appreciate your promptness.
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Arab Seafaring: In the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times (Expanded Edition)
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