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The Modern Middle East: A History Paperback – Mar 4 2011

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Paperback, Mar 4 2011
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3 edition (April 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199766053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199766055
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 2 x 15.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"An important and much needed conceptual approach to the modern history of the Middle East."--Edmund "Terry" Burke III, University of California, Santa Cruz"Gelvin's book is without doubt the most exciting survey of modern Middle Eastern history that I have read. The author is masterful in his use of historical anecdotes and the fates of individuals to illustrate broader points about the events and transformations that he describes. Most importantly, the book presents the history of the region in the form of a coherent, intelligible, and convincing narrative. Thanks to its flowing narrative and lively style, the book can also be read without a teacher's guidance by students and other interested readers."--Ahmed El Shamsy, Harvard University"The greatest strength of Gelvin's text . . . is its conceptual and thematic approach. [His] conceptual framework places the history of the modern Middle East in a global context and shows how it was and is affected by the same global processes that were/are affecting other parts of the world. Thismoves us away from the 'exceptionalism' and 'what went wrong' approaches that are still pervasive in many histories of the modern Middle East."--Marlee Meriwether, Denison University"By far the most engaging survey of the history of the modern Middle East that I have read in a long time . . . clearly written, often humorous, accessible to students and non-specialists and theoretically sophisticated."--Dina Rizk Khoury, George Washington University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

43 illus., 11 maps --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa172c30c) out of 5 stars 32 reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b301c8) out of 5 stars One of the best introductions out there... Oct. 12 2005
By tarihci202 - Published on
Format: Paperback
It is hard to overstate the value of this relatively short introduction to Middle Eastern history. Rather than attempting a traditional narrative, Gelvin's history emphasizes ways of conceptualizing Middle Eastern history, allowing readers to see, for example, the Constitutional Revolution in Iran and the the Young Turk Revolution in the Ottoman Empire, as part of the same general process. This makes Gelvin's work unusually valuable for readers with some basic knowledge of the Middle East while helping newbies to understand the basic outlines of Modern Middle Eastern History without getting lost in a sea of names and dates. Gelvin is one of the brightest and most original thinkers in Middle Eastern studies today and, even when one disagrees with him, there is an intellectual verve here that is sure to engage.

The weakness to Gelvin's thematic approach is that readers with limited background may sometimes feel the need to remind themselves of basic facts. If the glossary, timeline, and biographical sketches at the end of the book do not suffice for this, William L. Cleveland's A History of the Modern Middle East would make an excellent companion volume.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0b3060c) out of 5 stars Fascinating, insightful, witty... Jan. 25 2005
By - - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is great not only for those who are well-versed in the history of the Middle East, but also those who are interested in the subject but lack an extensive knowledge of it (i.e. those who became genuinely curious only after 9/11).

This book places events in the history of the modern Middle East in the greater context of world history and world events which were happening at the same time. Looking back at the book, it's now difficult for me to understand why all historians wouldn't do the same thing.

And while the author is obviously an expert in the field and has done a great deal of research and analysis, it's also clear from his style of writing that he is a teacher- it's written in such a way as to help the reader understand: organized, very interesting, rational, backed up by facts, humorous at times, etc..., as opposed to many other books on the Mid-East that simply don't flow, and are based more on speculation and bias than they are on fact.

Also, it's a pleasure to read- lots of great stories are included- and in fact, if you tend not to be interested in history books, the stories alone (separate from the text of the book and therefore easy to find) make this book worth picking up; the kind of stories that leave you thinking, "You've got to be kidding me!"

Finally, I think it's worth mentioning that the chapter on nationalism is absolutely groundbreaking, at the very least (*Note to students of the history of any part of the world: read this chapter. It will forever change the way you study history.)

I give this book five stars all the way...highly recommended to all.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0a56324) out of 5 stars Enjoyable History Oct. 6 2005
By R. Choate - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have taken many classes on the Middle East and have had to read many books about it as well. This is the only truly enjoyable history book I have used. Not only is it understandable and easy to read, but the author's side comments and jokes make it really enjoyable. Because of this book, I am finally comprehending much more of the modern period within the Middle East.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa064c9f0) out of 5 stars Very good... but with some unseemly omissions. Aug. 17 2009
By David K. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would happily agree with most other reviewers; this is one of the best texts that a reader will find on the modern middle east. That said (and I did not notice this the first time through the book), the author does not deign to address many of the atrocities that have happened in the region. For example, the whole of the Armenian Genocide (the deaths of 1.5 million people) is reduced to 3 sentences in the opening remarks of a section. The Shelling of Hama, the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of Kuwait, and Sabra and Chatila are also glazed over in roughly as much detail.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa064c81c) out of 5 stars Excellent history - a joy to read June 16 2007
By C. Cornell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gelvin writes a concise, clear history of the Muslims world (that is, mostly the middle-east). He writes in an enjoyable fashion - being true to historical objectivity, yet throwing in personal analysis when appropriate. What makes this book even better is that it was written in 2005 and could thus position itself within a post-9/11 world. Overall, Gelvin's history is not only rich, but entertaining to read. Perfect for a student whose brain might be frazzled by semesters of reading.