AND EARLY ISLAMIC HISTORY
Armstrong, Karen. Islam:
A Short History. Modern Library Edition. New
York: Modern Library, 2000.
relatively recent book, Armstrong focuses more on the evolution
of the Islamic faith than on Islam as a political force.
Its barely two hundred pages, and very readable.
Jonathan and Sheila Blair. Islam: A Thousand Years of
Faith and Power. New Haven, CT: Yale U P, 2002.
is a very readable history from the time of Muhammad until
the time of the Ottoman Empire. It deals more with the political
nature of Islam than Armstrong does. It is the companion
book to the PBS series Islam: Empire of Faith, which I haven't
William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder:
Westview Press, 1994.
you want more in-depth coverage of the same period covered
in the Mansfield book, this is it. It's also very useful
for his citations and recommendations for further reading.
Cook, Michael. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction.
Oxford: Oxford U P, 2000.
the title indicates, this is closer to a lengthy pamphlet.
You can read it all in a couple of hours and understand
the basic mechanics and history of the Quran, as well
as its role in Islamic societies today. I think I read most
of it waiting to pick somebody up from the train.
John L. Islam: The Straight Path. New York; Oxford:
Oxford U P, 1998
is a well known Islamic scholar, and addresses the religious
beliefs of Muslims. This is a popular book for undergraduate
shopping mall religion courses, probably because
it fits nicely over your face if you should fall asleep
Peter. A History of the Middle East. New York: Viking,
who think that the conflicts in the Middle East are thousands
and thousands of years old will be annoyed that this book
concentrates on the 19th century forward. Since these people
are generally wrong, I can still recommend Mansfield's book,
although it stops in 1991. If you really don't want to read
more than about 200 pages, this is pretty good.
FALL OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND THE MIDDLE EAST IN WORLD WAR I
George. The Arab awakening; The Story of the Arab National
Movement. New York: Capricorn Books, 1965.
recommend these books because theyre written by people
who actually experienced the times and interacted with many
of the key actors. Lawrence is of course Lawrence of Arabia
-- and to some degree Antonius is telling the same story
as Lawrence from the Arab perspective. Lawrence is longer
and Antonius is more dense than the other books I've put
here, but I really enjoyed both of them. Read them and then
watch the remastered Lawrence of Arabia and marvel at Peter
O'Toole's dreamy eyes. Or something.
David. A Peace to end all Peace. New York: Avon Books,
is the most readable of the books that deal specifically
with this time period -- it covers the negotiations and
machinations that led to the formation of the Middle East
as we know it today.
ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT
Ian J. and Carla L. Klausner. A Concise History of the
Arab-Israeli Conflict. 4th Edition. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.
book is interesting because each chapter ends with copies
of the relevant documents to that period The Balfour
Declaration, UN Resolution 242, etc. It is a little on the
expensive side, so check your couch cushions for change.
Dai and Norma Percy and others. The 50 Years War Israel
and the Arabs. Virginia: PBS Home Video, 1998.
A movie! I really like this series produced by PBS, and
just in case you don't want to read a really long book,
check this out.
Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.
yes, this book is really long. Here's the problem: if you're
going to write on this topic, the conventional wisdom is
that the conflict is so complicated that only robotic Carl
Sagan clones with Cray supercomputers for brains could understand
it, so you have to make it long or people won't take you
seriously. And you have to (or should!) well document every
claim you make. Otherwise, some college kid trying to find
a cause to care about will flame you for your extreme bias.
Of course, since they're going to do that anyway, I say
you just enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, I don't know Charles
Smith personally to pass on my advice.
Marion and Peter Sluglett. Iraq since 1958: From Revolution
to Dictatorship. New York, NY: Metheuen, Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1987.
only read parts of this well regarded book, but given it's
more limited scope, it does a better job of covering the
coups that occurred in Iraq and the rise of Ba'ath party
and Saddam. I still think Marr is more readable, and it
is helpful to understand the role of the British in forming
modern Iraqi identity, which isn't explored by this book's
Phebe. The Modern History of Iraq. Boulder Colo:
is really "the" book on modern Iraq. It's very
readable and Marr does a good job of presenting the overarching
themes as well as a chronological presentation of the major
events in Iraq's modern history. The first edition of this
book was out of date and out of print for years, but now
we have the 2nd edition with a chapter entitled "Whoopsie!
The US and Iraq 1990-2003"
Charles. A History of Iraq. Cambridge: Cambridge
U P, 2000.
book is shorter, but somewhat denser than Marr's. It tends
to be more of a blow by blow of the history of Iraq. All
the names do eventually get confusing, especially as governments
fall and elections are held every 1/2 hour in Iraq from
the 1920's until 1958. As a nerd, I must point out that
Tripp seems to have used fewer primary sources than the
other two books, as he cites both of them. This probably
matters to no one.
James A. The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian
Relations. New Haven: Yale U P, 1988
not sure what it says about me, but this is one of my favorite
books of all time. In a very straightforward way, the author
traces the relationship between the two countries over the
last century or so. The book is full of fun anecdotes and
oddball details (a leaders persistent runny nose,
an itemized list of gifts given by the Shah to American
media personalities, etc.). Admittedly, in the second part
of the book, Bill spins a dubious conspiracy theory about
Henry Kissinger and Chase Manhattan Bank, but given the
bizarre nature of our relationship with the Shah, it might
E A T U R E R E S O U R C E S
is where you can find all resources that relate to the
E A T U R E
British Museum; Mesopotamia
site is an excellent way to explore the wonders
of Ancient Mesopotamia. It includes highlights
from the Assyrian empire and the cities of Babylon
and Sumer, with a variety of photos and interactive