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The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day Paperback – 3 Dec 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (3 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842121391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842121399
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A brilliant survey of the history and civilisations of the Middle East by one of the world's greatest authorities on the subject

About the Author

Bernard Lewis, a world-respected authority on Islamic and Middle Eastern history, is Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University, where he has been since 1974. Born in London in 1916, he was Professor of the History of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1949-74. His numerous books on the Middle and Near East have been translated into more than twenty languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Malay and Indonesian .

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 30 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
Lewis is the Daniel Boorstin of Middle East historians. He brings the same sort of encyclopaedic knowledge to his subject. The vast scope of his erudition is evident on every page in this volume. In fact, if there is anything to quibble about, it may be that few readers will be able to keep pace with him as he traverses Middle-Eastern history and landscape.
Part of the difficulty in keeping up comes from the way in which Lewis presents his information. This is not your typical linear narrative, starting at a particular era and then ploughing forward through time. Though there is an overall progression (we start out in the Roman era and end up in current times), the author also often backtracks when discussing different aspects of the civilizations he covers. So while the book starts out in a relatively chronological manner in the first few chapters(Romans>Byzantines-Crusades>Mongol Invasions>Turkic Ascendency-Ottomans), we suddenly detour to Part IV of the book, entitled "Cross-Sections." Lewis then proceeds to break down different societal components such as "The State," "The Economy," "The Elites," etc. in which he backtracks to provide additional details about groups he has earlier portrayed. This is where I for one, who am looking for enlightenment on these subjects and have no real background scholastically speaking, had a hard time keeping track. I consider myself at least a moderately attentive reader, and a lover of history from Herodotus to Gibbon to Parkman to Tuchman, but felt swamped at times here from the sheer wealth and breadth of information. One also had better be up on their geography from about six different eras in that part of the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 April 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book, by the generally acknowledged "dean" of Middle East studies and Islamic history, is a masterful synthesis of two thousand years' worth of events and developments in the Middle East, from its pre-Islamic beginnings to the present day. Bernard Lewis weaves a cogent tapestry out of a bewildering array of facts to present a cohesive and intelligible portrait of the primary forces at work in that region of the world throughout time.

The book ends with Bernard Lewis speculating over what the future might hold for the Middle East and the Muslim world now that there is only one superpower left in the world and now that the major European powers have pretty much withdrawn from the region and no longer exert such a "heavy hand." Bernard Lewis's comments and musings are tempered by his historian's natural reticence to comment or opine on the future, but nonetheless I found his insights helpful.

In terms of where Bernard Lewis's book fits in with other books, I think Lewis is unrivaled as an historian of the Middle East and of the Muslim world generally. The book is similar to other books insofar as Lewis provides a history of the Middle East over the last 2,000 years (several thousand books have probably been written on that large subject alone). So, I think it covers the same subject matter, objectively speaking, as other history books. But Lewis gives us insights and ties events together in a way other historians do not. His writing style is also a pleasure compared to the turgid prose of some others in the field.

I ended up having my appetite whetted by Lewis's musings on the future. If other readers feel similarly, they may want to read Anthony J.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex on 23 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
****
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.
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