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History of The Arabs Paperback – 26 Sep 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 852 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 10 edition (26 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333631420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333631423
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 4.5 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Philip Hitti's splendid masterwork...[is] an essential purchase for all our libraries...."--David Shasha, Sephardic Heritage Update 2/20/03

About the Author

PHILIP K. HITTI was born in Lebanon in 1886 and from 1913 til his death in 1978 lived for the most part in USA, teaching first at Columbia and later at Princeton, from which he retired in 1954 as Professor of Semitic Literature and Chairman of the Department of Oriental Languages.

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OF all the lands comparable to Arabia in size, and of all the peoples approaching the Arabs in historical interest and importance, no country and no nationality have perhaps received so little consideration and study in modern times as have Arabia and the Arabs Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the all time classics in Arab Studies. It has endured through the ages and still makes for truly remarkable reading - a testimony to the quality of Hitti's writing.

Philip Hitti was a Lebanese-American scholar who was a professor at Princeton University for many years. First published in 1937, 'History of the Arabs' took Hitti ten years to write and was originally based on a series of lectures with his students. At the time, knowledge of the Arab world in the West was minimal and mainly limited to academic or military circles. Hitti's inspiration was therefore to provide a work of reference that would present the history and culture of this area in an easily accessible and appealing format aimed at all comers: experts and novices alike.

The great strength of this work lies in its wonderful accessibility. It possesses that rare quality of making the reader think and use his imagination that so many other historical works lack. In all the literature pertaining to the Arab world and its civilisation, I can confidently assert that I have never come across any book that has outmatched Hitti's study in its ability to convey the passion and enthusiasm of discovering a new subject.

The reader quickly finds himself being effortlessly guided through the contents as his interest is progressively built up. The author takes great care not to influence the opinion of his audience, allowing them instead to smoothly deliberate through the material and formulate their own judgements.

Hitti develops a uniquely attractive style of relating Arab history. His approach caters to his public and reaches out into several fields.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MRH on 7 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hitti's book is a classic work on Arab history. It was published more than 70 years ago but it is still read with great interest. Arab or Islamic history is a 'grey area' but Hitti has managed to sift the facts from hearsay. Every statement he makes is substatiated by refernces. I would strongly recommend it to any reader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
dated but valuable 16 Sep 2008
By The Um - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I sympathize with reviewers who were offended by this book. There are, especially towards the beginning of the book, some generalizations that make me wince. And Hitti's vocabulary is full of obsolete ethnographic and anthropological terms that raise ugly associations with colonial racial ideas. Hitti wrote with the simplicity of scholars before multiculturalism and postmodernism, for whom the peoples of the world were specimens to be analyzed without regard to cultural sensitivity. Other scholars with encyclopedic knowledge of the Arabic peoples from Hitti's time were prone to generalizations: H. G. Farmer, who wrote the definitive book on Arabian music, was prone to say things like "As with all the Semites . . ."

But while Hitti may not have the cultural sensitivity of today's writers, his depth of knowledge is astonishing, and he writes beautifully. Where Hourani tells us relatively vaguely how things happened over centuries, Hitti shows us the singers of Medina, the philosophers of Baghdad, the slaves of Persia. Where Hourani's book is a good history, Hitti's book is also a work of art. Yes, be advised that Hitti's work is riddled with obsolete ideas, but also be aware that the very richness of his account argues against any stereotypes that he might have professed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
History of the Arabs 7 Jan 2014
By Wilfred Charbonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While serving with the US Army Stationed in the American Embassy, I was fortunate to complete 6SH with the University of /Maryland.. The Text was "History of the Arabs by Phillip K. Hitti Eighth Edition". It was a wonderful experience and I recommend the book to any and all. Listing some sections; The Book begins with The Rise of Islam and the Caliphal State"ARABIA THE CRADLE OF THE SEMITIC" and follows through with THE ARABS IN EUROPE: ending with THE LAST Of THE MEDIEVAL MOSLEM STATES.. Viewing the Middle East today though its hisotry generates many unanswered question yet provides enough clear information to allow some undertanding to answer many questions about the middle east today
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Need to Know 15 Jun 2009
By Bankole Makinde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My Experience so far in reading and understanding other people's religious beliefs has increase tremendously, it i always good to be versatile so as to keep up. The book "History of the Arabs" has helped to understand beyond all mediocre readings.

Thanks for availing me the opportunity of buying at my finger tips.
Warm Regards
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Great Work 1 Aug 2007
By K. Lum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best popular works about the Arabs. Given that it was written several decades ago, many attitudes have been disproven and new research has added to our understanding, but the overwhelming majority of this book is still valid. It is written in an acedemic and readable manner. This is Philip Hitti's magnum opus, and it is a great one.
15 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A poor effort 18 Mar 2008
By Gogol - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For a long time Hourani and Hittis books were the standard reads for anyone wishing to have a book that would provide them with a brief introduction to Arab history. Even so, traditionally Hittis has been advised to approach with caution due to a number of errors that anyone with knowledge of Arab and/or Middle Eastern history would be able to discover.

I must say I found it interesting that two previous reviewers received so many negative points on their reviews especially one that did nothing more than point out the inaccuracies of the book. I can only assume that those who placed a negative to that review are unhappy with the fact that Hittis shortcomings as a scholar are so easily discovered that an amazon customer can find them.

That religion should not be an issue regarding this book is obvious. Both Hitti and Hourani are Arab Christians from Lebanon. Both taught in the United States and both published their books primarily aimed at an American audience.

I find however, a difference between the two men is that Hitti appears to have sacrificed scholarship for popularity and his book rather panders to established stereotypes rather than fact. For Hittis book never shys away from his staunch Lebanese nationalism so much so that reading the first few chapters of the book can become tiresome at reading such nonsense. If one wants to believe in a Lebanon cradle of civilization then so be it but please don't try and impose your opinions on us who are neither interested or care.

Hittis book provides the reader with a history of the Arabs from their bedouin origins through to the birth of Muhammad and the rise of the Islamic religion, the Islamic conquests and great Islamic empires of the Umayyads and Abbasids. As usual with popular books of this kind it deals briefly with Islamic Spain and Sicily.

Also typical to these kinds of books a brief history of the crusades is given where Hitti considers it an era of cross pollination of cultures a sort of first 'East meets West' That there were Arab and Turkish quarters in Constantinople (a traveller to Istanbul today can see the resting place of Arab diplomats from those early centuries) and in Russia. That until the 9th or 10th century Andalusia was not even predominantly Muslim are all fact ignored.

The Mamaluks are seen as an extension of Arabism (Even though they were Turks!) In the face of 'Turkish' Ottoman rule. The rise of Western powers, colonialism, renaissance of Arab thought etc all the usual that one may expect from a book published many decades ago. The problem is this book has been republished numerous times so you would expect someone to have edited and ironed out the obvious faults in this book.

An old and rather out of date book. You can find a lot better (Such as Houranis) if you want a brief history of the Arab peoples.
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