A History of the Arab Peoples / Edition 1

A History of the Arab Peoples / Edition 1

by Albert Habib Hourani
4.3 3
Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
Select a Purchase Option (Older Edition)
  • purchase options
    $27.78 $50.00 Save 44% Current price is $27.78, Original price is $50. You Save 44%.
    Note: Access code and/or supplemental material are not guaranteed to be included with textbook rental or used textbook.
  • purchase options


A History of the Arab Peoples / Edition 1

Praise for the first edition
“A splendid achievement … Written with just the right mix of empathy and sensitivity, and a feel for the irony of human history. This is history in the grand style. It can lead to a better understanding of the Arabs, past and present.”
—L. Carl Brown, New York Times Book Review
“Here at last is a genuinely readable, genuinely responsive history of the Arabs.”
—Edward W. Said, Los Angeles Times Book Review
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674395657
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 07/28/1991
Series: Belknap Series
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 574
Product dimensions: 6.41(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.73(d)
Lexile: 1370L (what's this?)

Table of Contents


Author's Note



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


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


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 thecountryside

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



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


Understanding the world


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


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


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


Genealogies and Dynasties

The Family of the Prophet

The Shi'i Imams

The Caliphs

Important Dynasties

Ruling Families in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century



Index of Terms

General Index

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A History of the Arab Peoples 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
very thoughtfull analysis of the history of the region. It covers complicated ground in a very readible manner. Buy it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a concise introduction to the history of the Arab people. It is fairly easy to read, yet comprehensive; interesting, yet dispassionate. Albert Hourani does an excellent job presenting an overall picture of Arab history and society. I particularly enjoyed how this book considers history as more than a mere collection of events and dates or the conquests of kings. Rather, for every historical period, it attempts to paint a picture of the lives of ordinary people. Thus we learn about education, religion, law, marriage, and other aspects of society. This is a major strength of the book. Naturally, in a book about Arab history, a great deal of emphasis is put on Islamic religion, which is perhaps the most potent force shaping Arab history and culture. In a way therefore this book also offers an excellent introduction to Islam and Islamic history. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see more material about pre-Islamic times. Furthermore, while the title ¿Arab peoples¿ acknowledges the fact that most of the modern-day ¿Arabs¿ are descended from non-Arabs who at some point adopted Arab language and culture, this point is not made explicit in the text, and the pre-Arab history of these peoples is ignored. Having said that, I admit that it is impossible to include any more information about Arab history in the same number of pages (500), making this book a definite accomplishment. It is an excellent and readable introduction to Arab history, and a lead to other more specialized books (listed in the 27-page bibliography). The index alone reads like a who¿s who in Arab history.