- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (August 7, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684832801
- ISBN-13: 978-0684832807
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 102 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years Reprint Edition
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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.
About the Author
Bernard Lewis (born May 31, 1916) was born in London. He is the author of forty-six books on Islam and the Middle East, including Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian; The End of Modern History in the Middle East; and The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. He also wrote three major syntheses for general audiences: The Arabs in History; The Middle East and the West; and The Middle East. Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.
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The book is an asset for those who are looking for a clear understanding of the ME region even if they are not academics and I highly recommend this book to anyone who are in need to understand part of the current global powers movement without being over saturated with unnecessary details.
One complaint: the Arabic characaters are not displayed correctly and are nearly impossible to read. So, when you come across the name of a location or a person, the character is tiny, unreadable and annoying.
The author himself admits as much, writing in the Preface, "Any attempt to present two thousand years of the history of a rich, varied and vibrant region within the compass of a single volume must necessarily omit much that is of importance. Every student of the region will make his or her choice. I have made mine, and it is inevitably personal".
And so it is.
As a result there are, for example, only a few short paragraphs on the whole vast subject of the Crusades. At the same time we learn in detail about the keen observations of the French traveler Jean de Thevenot, who visited Egypt in 1655.
Or as another example, a number of pages are devoted to a detailed discussion of the revolutionary movement of the Young Turks in the early 20th century. On the other hand, notwithstanding the fact that The Middle East takes us essentially to the present day, there is no mention of the Muslim Brotherhood and the origins in the 1950's of the thinking that has evolved into the radical Islamist doctrine that today confronts the world.
The author is undoubtedly a great and learned scholar. But as a result of the compromises required of "A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years", this book is neither here nor there.