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    History of the Arab Peoples

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    Has anyone here read Hourani's "History of the Arab Peoples"?

    I just received it in the mail and was wondering if it is good/accurate, etc.

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    Re: History of the Arab Peoples

    never heard of it, whose the author and what is the summary given in the back?

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    Re: History of the Arab Peoples

    Hourani is a Lebanese historian.

    The summary on the back is

    "Upon its publication in 1991, Albert Hourani’s masterwork was hailed as the definitive story of Arab civilization, and became both a bestseller and an instant classic. In a panoramic view encompassing twelve centuries of Arab history and culture, Hourani brilliantly illuminated the people and events that have fundamentally shaped the Arab world.
    Now this seminal book is available in an expanded second edition. Noted Islamic scholar Malise Ruthven brings the story up to date from the mid-1980s, including such events as the Gulf War; civil unrest in Algeria; the change of leadership in Syria, Morocco, and Jordan; and the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.
    The terrorist attacks in the United States, ongoing crisis in Iraq, and renewed violence between Israelis and Palestinians all underscore the need for a balanced and well-informed understanding of the Arab world, and make this insightful history of the Arab peoples more important than ever"

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    Re: History of the Arab Peoples

    Salaam

    Ive seen it in Bookstores, you've piqued my interest, Ill try and get a hold of it.

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    Re: History of the Arab Peoples

    I've never read it and probably won't after reading the reviews, but you may find it interesting yourself.


    A History of the Arab Peoples is a book written by the British-born Lebanese historian Albert Hourani. The book presents the history of the Arabs from the advent of Islam (although some pre-Islamic history is included) to the late 20th Century. More recent editions contain an afterword by Malise Ruthven bringing the history up to the present day including the Invasion of Iraq. The book has been translated into Arabic, and the book has found some currency in Arab universities and schools as an introductory text for Arab history. It has also been used as a text for upper-level courses in Arabic as a second language, on account of the highly readable style of Kamal Khouly's translation.

    -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_the_Arab_Peoples

    When reading fictional books, I tend to see first who the author is and their background and viewpoints relative to the topic. For instances, I wouldn't be reading a book on the history of Palestine if the author is an Israeli. I also like to read the negative views online, be it for a book or some item i'm buying, the positives stand out by their sheer quantity but the negative ones tell you a lot more about the product. So based on the reviews I've read on this, it seems like a decent book for the most part for westerners as it covers the general basic stuff. I think this is the most realistic review of the book:

    Derek Ide: As far as content goes, Hourani does an excellent job of mitigating the potential pitfalls of attempting to cover such a vast topic. He does well encompassing a variety of aspects, including political and social movements, culture and literature, economics, etc. There are many aspects of this which leave the reader hanging, however. Often, a revolt or uprising is mentioned, with no context and no other information. It is simply given by name or, sometimes, not even named at all. Since he doesn't cite his source, you cannot often go back and figure it out without an enormously frustrating amount of time shooting in the dark on the internet.

    One of the major drawbacks is his treatment of empire. He is far too lenient on the imperial powers, especially Britain (he seems to be harder on France, for whatever reason, perhaps because of his own location). The way his book presents empire, one imagines that the great imperial powers had their own interests, which they took care of, but were generally benevolent masters which simply made mistakes due to a lack of knowledge, bad choices, etc. I think, before engaging a book like this, one ought to read Michael Parenti's "Against Empire" or "The Face of Imperialism" just to have a primer on how imperialism works.

    The next point, and this was a shock to me, Hourani completely whitewashes the 1948 Palestinian Nakba. He present it as, essentially, a war between two equal sides, in which the Zionist forces were better prepared and won the day. He mentions a few hundred thousand Palestinians become refugees, but doesn't mention any of the terror, the violence, the death brought about by Zionist policy, outlined, for instance, in Plan Dalet. I would suggest, as an antidote to this, one reads the alexipharmic book by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe titled "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine."

    At any rate, if you want something to satisfy a basic desire to engage the Arab world, this is the book.

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...e_Arab_Peoples
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