In a sweeping and vivid survey, renowned historian Bernard Lewis reviews and analyses the history of the Middle East since the birth of Christianity through our modern era, focusing on the successive transfigurations that have configured it. A rather concise but comprehensive overall examination of the last two millennia of the Middle East history. This work is one of the best single volume history of the region, written by a non local authority, like Horani, on the Middle East in Historiography. While the rich tradition, the broader cultural, and linguistic developments that shaped the center of the ancient world, could be elaborated and read by by other specialists in the particular field.
Islam is at the book's core, since its advent that started early, in the seventh century. The reader may occasionally feel this is a book on the history of Islam in the Middle East, rather than the multicultural Middle East, I know of, even if the author view point advocates that Islam was the defining factor for the whole region since its emergence from the Arabian peninsula like a locust like invasion of the green field of Christian population, that erupted in the mid seventh century. Lewis' work as a whole, and this book in particular does not support "Orientalism," Edward Said's defining work on the relations between the Arabs and the West.
Scholarly yet accessible, Lewis' elegently written book, satisfies its stated mission to explore through two thousand years of the immense and vigorously active history of a region that has thrived and declined under numerous political powers, in just few hundred pages. But Lewis succeeded to provide an unbiased overview of Middle Eastern history from the Roman annexation of Egypt through the doors leading to the October war and Arab Spring, so compellingly.