A History of the Arab Peoples: With a New Afterword / Edition 2

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Overview

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.

Encyclopedic and panoramic in its scope, this fascinating work chronicles the rich spiritual, political, and cultural institutions of Arab history through 13 centuries.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

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

Los Angeles Times Book Review

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

Times Literary Supplement

[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

Economist
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.
Washington Post Book World

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

New York Times Book Review - L. Carl Brown
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.
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Edward W. Said
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.
Times Literary Supplement - Robert Irwin
[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.
Washington Post Book World - Thomas W. Lippman
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.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hourani examines Arabic-speaking nations of the Islamic world from the seventh century to the present in a volume that spent 12 weeks on PW 's bestseller list and was a History Book Club main selection. Illustrated. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Hourani (Emeritus Fellow, St. Anthony's College, Oxford) is the author of several well-known books on the Middle East, including Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age (Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1983) and The Emergence of the Modern Middle East (Univ. of California Pr., 1980). This work, the first full-scale single-volume history of the Arabic-speaking peoples of the Islamic world in several decades, begins with Islam's rise in the 7th century and carries the rich and imposing story of Arab civilization to the late 1980s. In broad, sweeping strokes, Hourani moves easily from mosque to marketplace, from sultan to imam , from nomad to city-dweller, from Mohammed to Sadat. He dwells on the Ottoman Empire and on the European colonialism that followed, and concludes with a discussion of the modern resurgence of Islam that offers hope to thousands of Muslims and appears so threatening to Westerners. Written by a master historian, this work is now the definitive study of the Arab peoples. Recommended for interested laypersons and scholars; required reading for all specialists.-- Roger B. Beck, Eastern Illinois Univ., Charleston
Booknews
An account of the culture and institutions of Islam, from the time of Mohammed until 1988 (end of the Iran-Iraq war). Considers literature, science, religion, the caliphate, national governments, relations with Europeans, and such internal tensions as poverty, the place of women, and the Palestinian question. More useful as a narrative than a reference for specific information. A remarkable bargain. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
An Oxford professor chronicles the epic saga of Arab culture and civilization, from the birth and spread of Islam in the seventh century and the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire to the struggles against European colonizers and emergence of modern Arab nation-states.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674058194
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2010
  • Edition description: With a New Afterword
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 193,934
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Hourani was Emeritus Fellow, St. Antony's College, Oxford. He died in 1993.

Malise Ruthven is a former editor with the BBC Arabic Service and World Service in London and is the author of Islam in the World and Islam: A Very Short Introduction.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Author’s Note
  • Prologue
  • Part I: The Making of a World (7th–10th Century)
    • 1. A New Power in an Old World
      • The world into which the Arabs came
      • The language of poetry
      • Muhammad and the appearance of Islam


    • 2. The Formation of an Empire
      • The succession to Muhammad: the conquest of an empire
      • The caliphate of Damascus
      • The caliphate of Baghdad


    • 3. The Formation of a Society
      • The end of political unity
      • A unified society: the economic bases
      • Unity of faith and language
      • The Islamic world


    • 4. The Articulation of Islam
      • The questions of authority
      • The power and justice of God
      • The shari’a
      • The Traditions of the Prophet
      • The path of the mystic
      • The path of reason




  • Part II: Arab Muslim Societies (11th–15th Century)
    • 5. The Arab Muslim World
      • States and dynasties
      • Arabs, Persians and Turks
      • Geographical divisions
      • Muslim Arabs and others


    • 6. The Countryside
      • Land and its use
      • Tribal societies


    • 7. The Life of Cities
      • Markets and cities
      • The city population
      • Law and the ‘ulama
      • Slaves
      • Muslims and non-Muslims in the city
      • Women in the city
      • The shape of the city
      • Houses in the city
      • The chain of cities


    • 8. Cities and Their Rulers
      • The formation of dynasties
      • The alliance of interests
      • Control of the countryside
      • Ideas of political authority


    • 9. Ways of Islam
      • The Pillars of Islam
      • The friends of God


    • 10. The Culture of the ‘Ulama
      • The ‘ulama and the shari’a
      • The transmission of learning
      • Kalam
      • Al-Ghazali


    • 11. Divergent Paths of Thought
      • Islam of the philosophers
      • Ibn ‘Arabi and theosophy
      • Ibn Taymiyya and the Hanbali tradition
      • The development of Shi’ism
      • Jewish and Christian learning


    • 12. The Culture of Courts and People
      • Rulers and patrons
      • Poetry and story
      • Music
      • Understanding the world




  • Part III: The Ottoman Age (16th–18th Century)
    • 13. The Ottoman Empire
      • The limits of political power
      • Ottoman government
      • The Ottomans and Islamic tradition
      • Government in the Arab provinces


    • 14. Ottoman Societies
      • Population and wealth in the empire
      • The Arab provinces
      • The culture of the Arab provinces
      • Beyond the empire: Arabia, the Sudan, Morocco


    • 15. The Changing Balance of Power in the Eighteenth Century
      • Central and local authorities
      • Arab Ottoman society and culture
      • The world of Islam
      • Changing relations with Europe




  • Part IV: The Age of European Empires (1800–1939)
    • 16. European Power and Reforming Governments (1800–1860)
      • The expansion of Europe
      • The beginnings of European empire
      • Reforming governments


    • 17. European Empires and Dominant Elites (1860–1914)
      • The limits of independence
      • The partition of Africa: Egypt and the Maghrib
      • The alliance of dominant interests
      • Control of the land
      • The condition of the people
      • The dual society


    • 18. The Culture of Imperialism and Reform
      • The culture of imperialism
      • The rise of the intelligentsia
      • The culture of reform
      • The emergence of nationalism
      • The continuity of Islamic tradition


    • 19. The Climax of European Power (1914–1939)
      • The supremacy of Great Britain and France
      • The primacy of British and French interests
      • Immigrants and the land
      • The growth of the indigenous elite
      • Attempts at political agreement


    • 20. Changing Ways of Life and Thought (1914–1939)
      • Population and the countryside
      • Life in the new cities
      • The culture of nationalism
      • Islam of the élite and the masses




  • Part V: The Age of Nation-States (Since 1939)
    • 21. The End of the Empires (1939–1962)
      • The Second World War
      • National independence (1945–1956)
      • The Suez crisis
      • The Algerian war


    • 22. Changing Societies (1940s and 1950s)
      • Population and economic growth
      • The profits of growth: merchants and landowners
      • The power of the state
      • Rich and poor in the city


    • 23. National Culture (1940s and 1950s)
      • Problems of education
      • Language and self-expression
      • Islamic movements


    • 24. The Climax of Arabism (1950s and 1960s)
      • Popular nationalism
      • The ascendancy of Nasirism
      • The crisis of 1967


    • 25. Arab Unity and Disunity (since 1967)
      • The crisis of 1973
      • The predominance of American influence
      • The interdependence of Arab countries
      • Arab disunity


    • 26. A Disturbance of Spirits (since 1967)
      • Ethnic and religious divisions
      • Rich and poor
      • Women in society
      • A heritage and its renewal
      • The stability of regimes
      • The fragility of regimes




  • Afterword (2002)
  • Maps
  • Genealogies and Dynasties
    • The Family of the Prophet
    • The Shi‘i Imams
    • The Caliphs
    • Important Dynasties
    • Ruling Families in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century


  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index of Terms
  • General Index

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