- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Cengage Learning; 1 edition (April 9, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0395980674
- ISBN-13: 978-0395980675
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East 1st Edition
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About the Author
Akram Khater teaches history at North Carolina State University and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. He specializes in the history of the Middle East. He received the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award for 1998-1999 and the NCSU Outstanding Junior Faculty Award for 1999-2000. He is currently developing an undergraduate and masters program on teaching high school world history.
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Top customer reviews
I do not mean to impinge on Khater's work in the nineteenth century - the material he includes gives a good sense of the political and economic forces at work (both internally and externally) with the Ottoman Empire; yet I wish there was more attention placed on the growing role of Europe in the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the Levant, and of Russian and British interference in Iran.
With that said, the matierals he includes on the twentieth century is truly outstanding: he provides a balanced perspective on Zionism and the establishment of Israel, and his section on nationalism in the Arab world is fantastic. The last two chapters on the Middle East today is, of course, a bit dated (the most recent materials he has dates from 2000), but it nonetheless gives context for the issues the region faces today. As evidence of this, Khater included the 1998 call by bin Laden for Muslims to take arms up against the United States.
For translated documents on the twentieth century Middle East, this is the book I recommend.
The study of History can save us from some of the worst excesses of this kind of media-spawned ignorance. But here too, for every story we are told or choose to read, our mantra must be: Consider the Sources! If we don't, we will simply fall prey to more sophisticated forms of manipulation. Since, in human affairs, no one person or institution has a corner on the Truth, we must be willing to read widely and ponder critically if we wish to dispel the Ignorance.
With all this in mind, I strongly urge interested readers to do more than simply read short introductions to the history of the Middle East or "the" Islamic World. Secondary works, no matter how scholarly or erudite, well-intentioned or informed, will only tell us what their authors think, and still leave us at several removes from the human face of historical change. This is so regardless of whether we choose Bernard Lewis' The Middle East, or Arthur Goldschmidt Jr.'s A Concise History of the Middle East as our guide. Reading these (or similar) surveys is a necessary first step, but it is only a first step. From them we can glean the outlines of "the" story, but to see the human actors (and to assess the judgments of historians) we need more works like Akram Fouad Khater's excellent collection of primary documents, Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East. Though intended for university and college students, it really deserves a much wider audience.
In Part One, Khater deals with the Political, Economic, Social and Cultural changes set in motion by the French and British "incursions" into the Ottoman Empire in the 1800s. The readings make it clear that there was a wide-ranging internal debate about the direction, desirability and nature of these reforms, and that they sprang as much from domestic concerns as from European "incursions." What will be abundantly clear to any Western reader today is the arrogant and condescending tone of nearly all "outside" commentators on the "situation" of Islam in the Nineteenth Century. Clearly, they were no less prone to sound-bites and self-congratulatory propaganda than we are today!
Part Two deals with the eruption of regional nationalisms in the Middle East and North Africa in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Khater's sources here provide an excellent base from which, for instance, to compare Arabic nationalism chafing under Ottoman control with later versions chafing under "Allied" control. Part Three deals with the "Post-Independence States" that have emerged since 1950. The foundations, both secular and religious, of these states are evident in the documents and provide a rich source for informative debate and discussion, especially given the "Cold War" meta-narrative that often clouds and/or distorts American perspectives on this period. Part Four on "The Middle East Today" deals with concerns with which most of us will be familiar (9/11, Israel/Palestine, etc). But the section on "Subaltern Groups" is superbly original and on its own will more than repay the reader's investment in this book. Not only is it highly unusual in itself, but it also provides an excellent source of information that will enable any reader to inestimably broaden the scope of inquiry and debate on a world that is routinely misrepresented in the "West." On its own, Akram Fouad Khater's reader offers a much-needed way out of our often self-imposed ignorance about Islam and the Middle East. In conjunction with a judiciously chosen survey text, it cannot fail to free us from our self-indulgent prejudices and our self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and despair.