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A History of the Arab Peoples [Paperback]

Albert Hourani
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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A History of the Arab Peoples: Updated Edition A History of the Arab Peoples: Updated Edition 3.5 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2005
A History of the Arab Peoples covers not only political history, but also culture, society, economy and thought, in a work of profound and lasting importance. A magnificent display of the late Albert Hourani's lifetime of scholarship, it was a best-seller on first publication in 1991. This new edition, updated by Malise Ruthven, includes such recent events as the on-going crisis in Iraq, the civil war in Algeria and the aftermath of September 11th.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New Ed edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571226647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571226641
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"'Here at last is a genuinely readable, genuinely responsive history of the Arabs.' Edward Said 'Splendid... history in the grand style.' New York Times"

Book Description

'Here at last is a genuinely readable, genuinely responsive history of the Arabs.' Edward Said

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Arab history 8 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Without doubt this is the best introductory book I have read on the subject of Arab history. Hourani's book is highly informative yet also very readable. The book covers Arab history over a timeline starting from pre-Islamic times right up to recent events in the 1980's and serves as a superb introduction for anyone with an interest in this area of the world. The book studies many aspects of life in detail. For those who are using this study as starting point, will find that Hourani gives them much to think about and provides many refernces for further research. The book also contains useful maps, timelines and family trees. The topic area is vast but Hourani has made skilful inrodes into it leaving the reader feeling informed about the Arab people both past and present.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 14 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book should be (and is in some Universities) mandatory for the study of the Middle East in general and Arab peoples specifically.

Written by Albert Hourani one of the great scholars of the Middle East it is both concise and comprehensive covering centuries of history while presenting the reader with enough detail that they do not feel that they are being cheated by the author skimming over the most important events in history.

The book begins with the beginnings of the Islamic faith and the Islamic empire covering this in rather short chapters before moving onto the Abbasids. While some may feel this is a slightly inappropriate place to start (others Hitti for example, begin with pre Islamic times) It seems Hourani has taken into account much of the Western view that the Middle East has been shaped by Islam and thus, his book should begin where it begins.

The book covers matters of the politics and structure of the various Islamic empires, the culture and arts of these empires, religious sects and revolts and life both in rural areas and in the built up cities. The impact of the west and the Ottoman empire are also given extensive coverage.

While there are several respected writers on Middle Eastern history I have always personally preferred Houranis books. I have found him honest and impartial when dealing with sensitive issues of history not least modern history
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, unconventional history 27 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This is a really good grounding in the history of the region stretching from Morocco to Turkey, encompassing 1400 ish years of history. The approach is refreshing in that it concentrates on culture and society and regards historical events from that perspective, considering specific wars etc as examples of a trend rather than focussing on them to the expense of everything else. It is also written from a nicely none western perspective, with developments elsewhere in the world being regarded as incidental to the main stream of history. Overall, very very good.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully descriptive 4 Feb 2011
By Wassim
The challenge that Albert Hourani was attempting was no simple matter, however, he's had a marvellous go at it. I simply loved the way he shaped words to bring across exactly what he thought about particular subjects and where the book fails in terms of depth it certainly makes up for in the areas he aimed to cover. Hourani, rather than going for a simple chronological account of Arabian history, instead groups together certain events in a period with a theme from a sociological, cultural or political point of view.

One other thing I noticed is Hourani's style. He inserts a few nuggets in the text which are easy to miss, but which I found quite descriptive and eloquent. So whilst describing despots or tyrants he would say something like

"power is not comfortable unless it can turn itself into legitimate authority"

If you like that kind of style you will enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact Filled..... 17 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is packed full of information - almost too much, and therefore I think it is the type of work which needs to be re-read in order to glean the full potential from the pages. Definately a good starting point for the reader looking for an introduction to Arab and Islamic history. I was a little confused at times by the occasional and somewhat `unusual` gramatical structure on the page before me, but this is a small gripe and shouldn`t detract from the overall positive impression.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and readable 20 Jan 2004
By A Customer
In this excellent book, Albert Hourani traces the history of the Arab people from the appearance of Islam, through the rise and fall of the caliphates and the Ottoman empire, to the colonial era of the Europeans and the creation of the nation states that now stretch from West Africa to the Gulf. He gives much insight into the development of culture, law, science and the many strands of religious thought in the region, and into the roots of some of the troubles of the present day. On finishing this book I felt better informed, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the Arab world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars arab peoples 9 Jun 2010
This remarkable book talls the history of the Arab peoples from thu 7th. century to 2001.It is in 5 sections a)the making of a world-7 to 10th centuries b)Arab Muslim societies-11 to 15th centuries c)the Ottoman age -16 to 18th centuries d)the age of European empire-1800 to 1939 and e)the age of nation stated-1939 to 2002.
Every section and sub-section is well researched and written if a bit hard going at times
There are good tables,notes, bibliography and indices but the maps are poor.
The book could have been lightened up with some illustrations or pictures.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
The is very good item and as it was seen it in profile in term of price and condation it was very good
Published 3 months ago by fawaz
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor History
Hourani manages to ramble on for some 458 pages of vague generalisations about the cultural changes in the Muslim world from seventh century to 1980s. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cliff
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction of the history of the Arab people
I found this book to be compelling, evocative, and fascinating. Hourani really captures the romance of Arab history, and the events with their own history and that of Islam that... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Paul Galbally
4.0 out of 5 stars general comments on "a history of the arab peoples"
it is a very good view with important points and perspectives, particulary indicated for people who enjoy a a subject wuthout excessive detailsA History of the Arab Peoples: With... Read more
Published on 7 April 2012 by Prof Dr J. Silva
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Hard Going
I read a lot of history books and bought this one with enthusiasm as I am doing a lot of work and travelling in the Middle East at the moment. I was, however, very disappointed. Read more
Published on 10 Jan 2011 by Frozenmop
3.0 out of 5 stars I read this book
This book is probably great if you are already interested in the subject or are familiar with the history of islam (not arab peoples). Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2009 by history reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative but insipid
A very informative and educating work indeed, tracing the ideological, political, social and military history of the Arabs. Read more
Published on 26 Jun 2009 by Bilal Rana
1.0 out of 5 stars A vague history
This is not a history of the Arab peoples - it does not describe why the Moslems expanded, how, when or where. What battles were fought, why or when? Read more
Published on 27 May 2009 by Sk Picot
3.0 out of 5 stars Below par and subtly biased
This book purports to offer the general reader a comprehensive and unbiased overview of the history of the arab peoples. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2006 by SimonJ
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