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The Middle East [Paperback]

By Bernard Lewis (Author)
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Item description for The Middle East by Bernard Lewis...

An authoritative, accessibly written overview of the history of the Middle East illuminates the region's traditions of government, economic systems, customs, and culture, as well as the religion of Islam and its legal system. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.

Publishers Description
In a sweeping and vivid survey, renowned historian Bernard Lewis charts the history of the Middle East over the last 2,000 years, from the birth of Christianity through the modern era, focusing on the successive transformations that have shaped it. Elegantly sritten, scholarly yet accessible, "The Middle East" is the most comprehensive single volume history of the region ever written from the world's foremost authority on the Middle East.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Middle East by Bernard Lewis has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 805
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2002 page 531
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 933
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 657
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 1173

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Scribner
Pages   448
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.26" Width: 6.18" Height: 1.16"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 7, 1997
Publisher   Scribner
ISBN  0684832801  
ISBN13  9780684832807  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bernard Lewis

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Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus, at Princeton University. His work has been translated in twenty-two languages, and he has lectured in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and America, and in many Muslim countries.

Bernard Lewis has an academic affiliation as follows - Princeton University Princeton University (Emeritus) Princeton Univers.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Middle East
3Books > Subjects > History > World > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World

Reviews - What do customers think about The Middle East?

Boring even for a history buff  Apr 13, 2008
Even for someone who enjoys "real" and substantial history books, as opposed to more trendy light reading, this was too boring to finish. The level of detail compares to a Norman Davies level but without the same kind of purpose or cohesion.
A Good Introduction to a Complex History  Feb 28, 2008
I cannot agree with the statements of some that this is "dull" or "booring". I am not aware that a serious reader expects non-fiction, history books to be exciting! I think that says more about the reader than the author and this book.

Professor Lewis has done and excellent job of providing an introduction to the history of this area and setting out a foundational explanation of the genesis of problems that exist today. I found the organization difficult to stay with at times but I am more accustomed to a linear historical format.

One does not have to be a serious student of history to appreciate what this book offers. I would recommend this book highly, especially for an understanding on a very basic level, of why the U.S. has no business invading the area.
A Brief Review of a Boring Book  Nov 28, 2007
Like many of you, I had heard good things about this book, but it turned out to be a disappointing slog. How this or that caliph raised taxes and other equally scintillating topics get hundreds of pages of stuffy prose. The Crusades, the fall of Constantinople, Timur and anything else exciting are lucky to get a few paragraphs. The author's feelings about Islam are also a bit over the top: he describes various aspects of this religion as "pristine" at least four times that I counted. The history of Islam in the middle east (especially the tedious bureaucratic details) is the real topic of this book.
The embalming of Middle Eastern history  Feb 12, 2007
I first read Lewis's book about five years ago and found it slow going. It made no significant impression on my mind. In the intervening years I've read fifty or more books concerning the history and politics of the Middle East. Fortified with new knowledge I decided to give the renowned Lewis another reading.

My second reading of the colossus of Middle Eastern history was just as unrewarding as the first. Professor Lewis, in this book, comes across as boring, meandering and forgettable. The this site reviewer who states "Lewis chronologically traces the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East" never read this book. There is nothing chronological about it.

Lewis warns us on the first page of the Preface that this book will not concentrate on "political and military events of the Middle East" but on "social, economic, and above all cultural change." But he doesn't warn us that this information will be presented in a confusing hodge-podge of lifeless prose. In an apparent attempt to be "objective" the great historian treats every subject in the same monotone. He is so cautious that every statement is qualified, nuanced, digressed upon and then qualified again until the reader's mind wanders.

The prodigious Professor Lewis was 80 years old when this book came out in 1995. He'd already written twenty major works of Middle Eastern History, starting in 1940. His magnum opus was the 1978 four volume "Cambridge History of Islam." I doubt that this present book was newly written. It reads as though many parts were taken from his previous work, and conflated into a "new book."

There is nothing wrong with writers recycling their previous published material, but Lewis makes no mention of doing so. Yet this is the only explanation that makes sense to me for the unevenness of the book and the confusing way it is presented. At times it reads as though Lewis shuffled parts of his previous work together randomly, like a deck of cards. (Or, maybe it was parts of his memory he was shuffling.)

The last section of the book, Part V of V, "The Challenge of Modernity" is the most interesting and relevant part of the book. But even here Lewis often tends to veer off course and get bogged down in detail and digression.

"The Middle East: A Brief History of The Last 2,000 Years" has polarized this site's reviewers more than any book I know. It is either acclaimed or discredited; there's not much middle ground. I give the work three stars because it does contain a mass of historical information. I take two stars off due to Lewis's leaden prose, confusing presentation and lack of illuminating interpretation.
As Advertised  Jan 19, 2007
Bernard Lewis' 'The Middle East' makes for an enjoyable read about the history of the Middle East in a non-polemical fashion. Lewis' ability to explain the intricacies of Middle Eastern history in an easy fashion is amazing. Unfortunately this book is divided into three different sections with only the first section being any sort of linear history. The rest is arranged topically. It is interesting material and other than the first section there is no reason the book would need to be read in order. The last chapter of the book was written before Sept. 11th and the Iraq War, so Lewis' prognosis of the future is understandably different. If you are looking for a liesurely read about the history of the Middle East, this book is a good start.

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