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Posted January 24, 2011
The more things change
the more they remain the same. This old truism is a succinct description of this collection of essays and articles by Bernard Lewis. The collection spans well over half a century of scholarly work of this doyen of Orientalism and Near Eastern studies. It is a fascinating walk through many facets of the rich history of the Middle East, and if you are new to the subject, as I am, it is probably one of the best starting points to the field. Many articles touch upon the subject that are as relevant today as when Lewis first wrote about them, which in many ways is a bit unsettling. I am always a bit skeptical about the use of ancient feuds and disputes as a justification for modern-day conflicts, but if a certain theme persists more or less unchanged for many centuries, then it would be foolish to ignore it. This book can be an invaluable resource to anyone wishing to cast aside those foolishnesses and better understand what is going on in that part of the world. In the example of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Lewis convincingly shows how it was both ancient and modern, fundamentalist and contemporary. It would not do the full historical justice to treat it just in the light of the fundamentalist rhetoric, nor through a prism of contemporary revolutionary rhetoric. Showing the interplay of those two themes is what Lewis excels at, and this book is replete with similar examples.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2004
A masterwork of scholarship and literature
This elegantly written collection is in a sense the product of a lifetime of study by one of the world's great scholars. It's broadness of vision, its humane relation to its subjects its deep deep knowledge make it a special treasure. It reads like a great work of literature and continually inspires with its insights. If there is one book published this year that I would recommend to everyone I know it is this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2008
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