Arabs: A Short History

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The history of Arabia is inextricably tied to the history of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad came from Arabia, and the most important religious centers for Muslims are located in the Arab cities of Mecca and Medina. However, Arabs already had a history reaching back over one and a half millennia when Muhammad entered the stage. Since the ninth century B.C.E. they had been an integral force in determining the fate of the Middle East, establishing themselves as a major power in the seventh century C.E. and with the rise of the caliphate expanding the borders of the Arab world far beyond the Middle East into North Africa and Spain, and even into France. Since that time, Arab history has been intimately connected with European history. Medieval European arts and sciences would have been unthinkable without the brilliant culture of the Arab empire. Only in the modern era has this relationship been marked by a growing European hegemony, which continues to encumber relations between the West and the Arab world to the present day. In this volume, Heinz Halm offers a compact and comprehensible overview of the history and culture of the Arabs from the first references in the inscriptions of Assyrian kings to the most recent developments of contemporary Arab nations.
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Editorial Reviews

Book News
Halm (U. of Tuebingen, Germany) offers Westerners a concise history of the Arabs, from the pre-Islamic era to the present, highlighting the changes in culture, economy, and religion over the last 2,000 years. The English translation, by Alison Brown and Thomas Lampert, makes the original German publication (2004, Verlag C. H. Beck, Muenchen) accessible to a wider audience; translation of the work was supported by the Goethe-Institut. The text also includes a thematically-organized bibliography for further reading, and notes on Arabic pronunciation.
Contains an index of names only; no subject index. Academic but accessible to the general reader.
Library Journal

While short in length, this book is wide in scope and range, both historically and geographically, covering the Arab peoples (that is, the more than 280 million people in North Africa and the Middle East who speak Arabic) from their pre-Islamic origins and the first recorded use of the term Arabto today's troubles in Iraq. In fewer than 200 pages, Halm (Islamic studies, Univ. of Tübingen, Germany; Shi'a Islam: From Religion to Revolution) does a marvelous job of condensing over 1000 years of history into seven chapters arranged chronologically, with subchapters arranged geographically, which makes the material easy to follow. Halm includes information on the many different cultures and governments, the Prophet Muhammad and his successors, Islamic dynasties, countries and rulers, interaction with the West and colonialism, literature and languages, modern nationalism and various wars, Israel, and the Sunni and Shi'ah. Written for a general audience, it is recommended for all public and undergraduate libraries as budgets allow.
—Melissa Aho

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558764170
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 1,428,682
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Heinz Halm, University of Tübingen, is the author of numerous books, including "The Shiites: A Short History."
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Table of Contents

I. Pre-Islamic Arabia

Name and Origin

Ancient South Arabia

Arabia in the Hellenistic Period

Arabs and Romans

Arabia between Byzantines and Persians

Old Arabic Language, Poetry, and Script

II. Arabia and Islam

Arabia on the Eve of Islam

The Prophet Muhammad

The Arab-Islamic Conquests

The Caliphate of the Umayyads (661-750)

The "Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad

Al-ëArabiyya: High Arabic Language and Literature

The Arab Reception of Antiquity

Arabic Numerals and the Zero

Arabization and Islamization

The Mamluks

III. The Arab World from 900 to 1500 AD




The Maghreb and al-Andalus

IV. The Arab World from 1500 to 1800

The Fertile Crescent under Ottoman Rule

The Arabian Peninsula


The Maghreb

V. The Nineteenth Century

The Mashriq

The Maghreb

Strategies against European Intervention: Europeanization, Islamic Renewal, Nationalism

VI. State Building and Independence in the Twentieth Century

The First World War and the Mandatory Period

The Salafiyya and the Muslim Brotherhood

The Palestine Question

The Second World War and the Establishment of the Arab League

The Founding of Israel and the First Middle East War

Baëth Party and Nasserism

The Six-Day War (June 1967)

The Sadat Era (1970-1981): The October War, the Infitah, and the Oil Crisis

The Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)

The 1990s: The First Intifada and the Gulf War

VII. The Beginning of the Twenty-first Century

The Second Intifada

The Iraq War in 2003


Notes on Pronunciation

Index of Personal Names

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