To gain a better understanding of contemporary Middle Eastern culture and society, which is steeped in tradition, one should look closely at its history. Bernard Lewis, Professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, considered one of the world's foremost authorities on the Middle East, spans 2000 years of this region's history, searching in the past for answers to questions that will inevitably arise in the future.
Drawing on material from a multitude of sources, including the work of archaeologists and scholars, Lewis chronologically traces the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East, from Hellenization in antiquity to the impact of westernization on Islamic culture. Meticulously researched, this enlightening narrative explores the patterns of history that have repeated themselves in the Middle East.
From the ancient conflicts to the current geographical and religious disputes between the Arabs and the Israelis, Lewis examines the ability of this region to unite and solve its problems and asks if, in the future, these unresolved conflicts will ultimately lead to the ethnic and cultural factionalism that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.
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From Library Journal
A noted Middle East historian, Lewis (Islam and the West, LJ 5/1/93) has written a 2000-year history of a region stretching from Libya to Central Asia. He concludes with the effects of the Gulf War and the entry into negotiations of the PLO and the government of Israel. Beginning his history before the rise of Christianity and Islam, Lewis seeks to illuminate the connections between the ancient Middle East and the modern region. He outlines the histories of pre-Islamic Arabia and the two great empires of Sasanid Persia and Byzantium. These entities formed the backdrop for the rise of the Prophet Muhammed and the formation of the Islamic polity. Lewis concentrates on the cultural, social, and economic changes in the region while keeping the political narrative to a minimum. He includes many direct quotations from a variety of contemporary sources to highlight a given period and place, providing an immediacy of experience not offered by conventional narrative or analysis. Highly recommended.?Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.