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Encyclopedic and panoramic in its scope, this fascinating work chronicles the rich spiritual, political, and cultural institutions of Arab history through 13 centuries.
Mr. Hourani is one of the few scholars capable of writing a worthwhile history of the Arabs from the rise of Islam until the present day in under 600 pages. His treatment is inevitably broad-brush, but never superficial. He covers not only political history but culture, society, economy, and thought; and this distillation of a lifetime's scholarship is the book's greatest virtue.
There is something deeply reassuring and even redemptive about this very fine book… It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this book for this time. Here at last is a genuinely readable, genuinely responsive history of the Arabs… [Hourani] completely controls the best in modern as well as traditional Western scholarship and often lets the Arabs, their poets, historians, sages and ordinary people speak along with, rather than against, that learning.
— Edward W. Said
This book by one of the most distinguished scholars of the Arab world and the Middle East is a splendid achievement that can be read with profit by rank beginners and jaded specialists. It is, moreover, written with the grace and wisdom that those who know Mr. Hourani's works have come to expect… This is history in the grand style. It can lead to a better understanding of the Arabs, past and present.
— L. Carl Brown
[An] elegantly written study… [Hourani] delivers a grand story in a deceptively quiet and gentle tone of voice; a vision of the great journey of the Arab peoples.
— Robert Irwin
This is a brilliant book, perhaps a landmark. It radiates the penetrating light of Albert Hourani's massive erudition upon what he calls the 'deeply disturbed societies' of the Arab world… Hourani is able to explain, concisely, matters of surpassing difficulty which must be understood in order to make sense of contemporary events… [A] rich and often gripping book.
— Thomas W. Lippman
|List of Maps|
|Note on Spelling|
|Note on Dates|
|Pt. I||The Making of a World (Seventh-Tenth Century)|
|1||A New Power in an Old World||7|
|2||The Formation of an Empire||22|
|3||The Formation of a Society||38|
|4||The Articulation of Islam||59|
|Pt. II||Arab Muslim Societies (Eleventh-Fifteenth Century)|
|5||The Arab Muslim World||83|
|7||The Life of Cities||109|
|8||Cities and Their Rulers||130|
|9||Ways of Islam||147|
|10||The Culture of the 'Ulama||158|
|11||Divergent Paths of Thought||172|
|12||The Culture of Courts and People||189|
|Pt. III||The Ottoman Age (Sixteenth-Eighteenth Century)|
|13||The Ottoman Empire||209|
|15||The Changing Balance of Power in the Eighteenth Century||249|
|Pt. IV||The Age of European Empires (1800-1939)|
|16||European Power and Reforming Governments (1800-1860)||265|
|17||European Empires and Dominant Elites (1860-1914)||279|
|18||The Culture of Imperialism and Reform||299|
|19||The Climax of European Power (1914-1939)||315|
|20||Changing Ways of Life and Thought (1914-1939)||333|
|Pt. V||The Age of Nation-States (since 1939)|
|21||The End of the Empires (1939-1962)||353|
|22||Changing Societies (1940s and 1950s)||373|
|23||National Culture (1940s and 1950s)||389|
|24||The Climax of Arabism (1950s and 1960s)||401|
|25||Arab Unity and Disunity (since 1967)||416|
|26||A Disturbance of Spirits (since 1967)||434|
|Index of Terms||544|