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A Concise History of the Middle East [Audiobook] [MP3 CD]

Jr. Goldschmidt Arthur , Lawrence Davidson , Tom Weiner


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Book Description

Jun 2010
The ninth edition of this widely acclaimed text by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Lawrence Davidson has been extensively revised to reflect the latest scholarship and the most recent events in the Middle East. As an introduction to the history of this turbulent region from the beginnings of Islam to the present day, the book is distinguished by its clear style, broad scope, and balanced treatment. It focuses on the evolution of Islamic institutions and culture, the influence of the West, the modernization efforts of Middle Eastern governments, the struggle of various peoples for political independence, the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the reassertion of Islamic values and power, the issues surrounding the Palestinian Question, and the roles of Iraq and Iran in the post-9/11 Middle East. Nine maps newly commissioned for the ninth edition highlight key aspects of Middle East history. Two popular study aids, the chronology and the glossary, have been extensively revised, and the superlative bibliographic essay, an essential guide to further reading, has been thoroughly rewritten to reflect current scholarship.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"This review and update of "A Concise History of the Middle East" makes it once again the premier text for the study of the Middle East. Goldschmidt and Davidson's well-written and solidly argued analyses of the most important and crucial developments of Middle Eastern history and politics ... could not be timelier. ... It will be a favorite of students and professors alike."
--Robert Olson, University of Kentucky

--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 the author of "Modern Egypt: Foundation of a Nation-State "and 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." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Overview for Students 21 Mar 2011
By N. E. Diliberto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the ninth edition of Arthur Goldschmidt's classic textbook. Goldschmidt is emeritus professor of history at Penn State and a specialist on Egypt. Lawrence Davidson has been brought in on this edition to bring the text up to date with current developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the latest Gulf War, a task for which Davidson is eminently suitable.

Previous editions of this textbook had become unwieldy because of the sheer volume of work that has been produced on Southwest Asia in the last two decades and, of course, in light of current events: 9/11, the Iraq War, and the breakdown of the peace process in Palestine. The authors in my opinion have done an excellent job in trimming the text and fashioning what is once more the most succinct and clearly written history of the Middle East, one that is free of overt bias--that is to say, the authors do not shy from offering arguments based on evidence, but they avoid an overt presentist, political agenda.

The new edition also has an excellent chronology of events, useful, clear maps, a thorough glossary of terms, and bibliographic essay with suggested readings on everything touched on in the book. The chapters are divided into short sections on specific themes, which also makes the work an excellent, easy-to-use reference book. Finally, they have included short--usually one page--accounts of key figures and events. There may be a lack of primary source material in the text; but this book is for students, who, in my experience want clear explication and a lively presentation of the material and often ignore the primary source "blurbs" provided in most textbooks. If you want to read primary sources, there are any number of good source readers on the Middle East, Islam, etc. from which to choose.

Unfortunately, some reviewers below have suggested that the authors are somehow anti-Zionist and pro-Muslim ideologues. This is a gross misrepresentation. Neither in this work, or in their other more focused studies do Goldschmidt or Davidson adopt a one-sided perspective on Middle Eastern politics. They offer us a sympathetic account of Islamic civilization, but not one that overlooks the conflicts within the Islamic movement throughout history. This is the greatest strength: they do not treat "the Muslim World" as monolithic or its history as a single narrative of violence, backwardness, or "anti-modernism." Just because the authors do not endorse the view that all Muslims are militant radicals bent on world domination and that Israel has the god-given right to absorb all of Palestine--Gaza, West Bank, Sinai, and who knows what else--does this make them apologists of Islam? To those who wish to see propaganda rather than history, I suppose the answer would be yes. But the authors are not the ones with the axes to grind; it is these intemperate, narrow-minded readers, who wish only to read things that affirm their identity politics rather than works that might challenge or, better, complicate their myopic, simplistic view of the world.

If you are looking for a text to use as an instructor, or just someone interested in a general history that is not over-burdened with scholarly jargon, this is it.

On the other hand, if you are looking for in-depth treatment of certain areas of Afro-Eurasia and specific aspects of Islamic culture, then the work's concision is also perhaps a drawback. However, there are so many specialized studies, one cannot hold it against these authors that they did not write a ten-volume history that deals with absolutely everything. I would look into the authors' extensive, annotated bibliographic essay for specialized works if you want to read more on any of the topics covered in their book. These authors should be lauded for their succinct analysis and the ability to focus us in on key themes without becoming bogged down in detail, or overt presentist biases.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written overview 18 Aug 2011
By Chris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The reviews for this book are a bit mixed so far, and I'm not sure why. I thought this book was fantastic. I was looking for a nice overview written by trained historians, and that's what this is. When I finished, I felt that I had a strong understanding of the Middle East region, and I'm ready to move on to other monographs.

The authors really do just what I hoped for: They go all the way back to the start of Islam (before, even), and while they give you the necessary details to get you through the medieval world, most of their focus is on the turbulent modern times. But the book teaches you about how Islam began and its basic pillars, as well as the differences within Islam itself. That's relevant information when studying modern Islam.

The most fascinating part of the book dealt with the post-Ottoman Middle East, and everything that surrounded the Israel-Palestine conflict. Certainly this book, while pointing out the atrocities and diplomatic blunders committed by all sides, is critical of Israel. The facts the authors present are eye-opening, and they seem interested in making the reader understand why Arabs were unhappy with the creation and subsequent belligerence of Israel.

I thought this book was really good. It contained some analysis, but it primarily presented facts in a very readable way, without being condescending. I highly recommend it to those looking to increase their knowledge of the Middle East. And as a bonus, it's available on audiobook with one of the best narrators in the business.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Textbook 2 Jun 2011
By Morgan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This history of the Mideast is indeed concise and to the point. It is generally a good introduction to the subject but flawed.

The book reads like a textbook for high school, rather than college level. As a textbook it suffers by arguing with previous, unnamed historians about interpretations of certain events. Without any referent, these arguments add little to the narrative. The textbook style also interrupts the narrative, so the audiobook does not flow as well as other narrative histories.

The authors mar the overalll subject by maintaining a multiculturalist view of the Mideast. While Islam and Arabs did indeed produce marvelous science, mathematics, and philosophy, the authors continually extoll these over the accomplishments of Western Civilization. This bias isn't merely a matter of viewpoint, but a conscious effort on the part of the authors to denigrate the accomplishments of the West in favor of those from the Mideast. This presentation, especially when dealing with current politics, turns a blind side to real understanding of contemporary events.

For the audio version, Tom Weiner's reading of the book is excellent and the audio recording is of high quality.

I would recommend this book as a supplement to understanding the Mideast, but not as a first book or introduction to the subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Concise History of the Middle East 25 Nov 2011
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the better written and easier to follow textbooks that I've read. It would even make a good "leisure read." When the authors used "concise" they weren't kidding. Very thorough compilation of the history of the Middle East from the mid 600s to 2009. A nice job explaining the birth of Islam and the role that it's played in the region since. The timeline in the back of the book has been a lifesaver. Lucky is the student whose professor chooses this text.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative 9 Jun 2014
By Kat Hillman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book seems very non-biased and is chock-full of information relative to today's world. I'm more interested in the 1800's onward. The book does a great job covering BC era and more recent history.
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