A History of the Arab Peoples Hardcover – Mar 1 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Hourani examines Arabic-speaking nations of the Islamic world from the seventh century to the present in a volume that spent 12 weeks on PW 's bestseller list and was a History Book Club main selection. Illustrated.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Hourani (Emeritus Fellow, St. Anthony's College, Oxford) is the author of several well-known books on the Middle East, including Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1983) and The Emergence of the Modern Middle East (Univ. of California Pr., 1980). This work, the first full-scale single-volume history of the Arabic-speaking peoples of the Islamic world in several decades, begins with Islam's rise in the 7th century and carries the rich and imposing story of Arab civilization to the late 1980s. In broad, sweeping strokes, Hourani moves easily from mosque to marketplace, from sultan to imam , from nomad to city-dweller, from Mohammed to Sadat. He dwells on the Ottoman Empire and on the European colonialism that followed, and concludes with a discussion of the modern resurgence of Islam that offers hope to thousands of Muslims and appears so threatening to Westerners. Written by a master historian, this work is now the definitive study of the Arab peoples. Recommended for interested laypersons and scholars; required reading for all specialists.
- Roger B. Beck, Eastern Illinois Univ., Charleston
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Naturally, in a book about Arab history, a great deal of emphasis is put on Islamic religion, which is perhaps the most potent force shaping Arab history and culture. In a way therefore this book also offers an excellent introduction to Islam and Islamic history. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see more material about pre-Islamic times. Furthermore, while the title "Arab peoples" acknowledges the fact that most of the modern-day "Arabs" are descended from non-Arabs who at some point adopted Arab language and culture, this point is not made explicit in the text, and the pre-Arab history of these peoples is ignored. Having said that, I admit that it is impossible to include any more information about Arab history in the same number of pages (500), making this book a definite accomplishment. It is an excellent and readable introduction to Arab history, and a lead to other more specialized books (listed in the 27-page bibliography). The index alone reads like a who's who in Arab history.
After giving a good background on the Prophet the book moves swiftly to describe the Arab world after his death. He does this in such a way as to include sociology, politics, religion (of course), culture, war, alliances, and literature. No other author can claim such a comprehensive outlook on the situation as Hourani.
Next his analysis takes the same broad scope on the Ottoman age and discusses the last, great empire of the Arab world (although they are not Arab). He discusses how the Arab people responded to these outside rulers and finally how the Ottoman empire responded to the growing power of the European empires.
He goes on to discuss how the European empires controlled the Arab world, how they fought over the land and trade routes, and how the Arab world responded to this. He discusses how education was very much Europeanized (especially in the Magrib, or northern Africa, where Arab culture did not affect the culture as much from the beginning).
In the last part he discusses the age of nations and the conflicts which aroused from having been colonized (not in the sense you would think however, instead of purely blaming the colonizers he merely shows how this created great differences in the culture and political and religious ideals of the people).Read more ›
The book is also very well designed. It includes an index of terms like "hadith" and "mahdi", an extensive bibliography, notes, a general index, genealogical trees, lists of dynasties, 39 BW photographs, and most importantly -- plenty of maps.
Finally, the treatment and discussion of Israel seemed dispassionate and concise.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and learned a great deal.
Although the book is entitled "A History of the Arab Peoples," it also covers a great deal of Persian and Turkish/Ottoman history. Despite the tremendous scope of time and space - over 1300 years and spanning from Spain to the East Indies - Hourani furnishes the reader with a solid view of the many currents that underlie modern Islam.
I hope that this book will help provide a more nuanced understanding of the Islamic and Arab world - a world that is often viewed as monolithic by the West. Aided perhaps by the survey nature of the text, the political bent of the book will be viewed as "balanced" by most non-partisan readers.
Most recent customer reviews
I found that the 'Arab Peoples' moved around quite a bit. The book may have been more aptly titled 'A History of Islam in North Africa and Europe', or something like that. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jag Sulla
What a tedious read!!! Where is the history of Suleyman The Great?! Did the crusades happen?! Did America ever do anything in Tripoli?! Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2004 by Mark Hamilton
The best book on the subject in English, and written by an Arab. An excellent alternative to the "information" in books like _Islam Unveiled_ and _The Sword of the Prophet_, it... Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2003 by Kevin Bold
A classic of modern lit. At some times a bit long winded but the text is unbiased and accurate.Published on Oct. 2 2002 by Steve Armstrong
If you are looking to understand the basic outline of Arabic Muslim history and cultural development, this is the book for you. Read morePublished on July 1 2002 by Glenn McDorman
With 'A History of the Arab Peoples', Hourani gives a great introduction to those who want to learn more about the history of this region as well as the roots of its problems. Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2001 by Robert Von Gerds