The Middle East: 2000 Years Of History From The Birth Of Christia: 2000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day (History of Civilization) Paperback – 4 May 2000
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
it was however very well researched and put together, and most definatly educational!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a well-written but extremely sanitized account of the Arab Muslim invasion and conquest of the lands outside their Arabia Deserta. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jennifer
Bought this as part of the 5 for my coursework. I found this very useful and the writing makes it an easy read that's also interesting!Published on 16 Jun. 2014 by Memememememe
No complaints. The book in its paper back edition is as it was expected. I would recommend this to any one who is interestedPublished on 13 Dec. 2012 by Qazi Z. Ahmad
This is a well researched and inciteful work. It puts the current issues in the middle east into perspective. How the past has shaped the conflict there.Published on 7 Feb. 2012 by Richard M
This is an extraordinary book that takes a long time to read and absorb. To me it is the definitive book and will remain prominent in my mind as being teh most informative book I... Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2010 by Norfolk boy
I have not finished this book but so far it is fascinating. I am continually disappointed by Amazon's minimal packaging of paperback books, though. Read morePublished on 10 Jun. 2009 by anonymous
This book makes an excellent read for those who want a brief insight into the history of the Middle East. Read morePublished on 10 May 2007 by Mala