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The Arabs: A History


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About the Author

Eugene Rogan is professor of modern Middle Eastern history at the University of Oxford and the director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford. The author of numerous books, including the international bestseller The Fall of the Ottomans, Rogan is the recipient of the Albert Hourani Prize. He lives in Oxford, England.


Anyone who seeks to understand why the Islamic world bears a grudge against the West should read The Arabs. Few scholars know their subject better than Eugene Rogan, while even fewer are capable of rendering so complex a subject so engagingly readable. It is a joy to open, and a deprivation to put down.--Sir Alistair Horne, author of A SavageWar of Peace
[Rogan] provides a prism through which the lay Westerner can view five centuries of tumult, zealotry, and complication.... Deeply erudite and distinctly humane, Rogan consistently plays up (and never papers over) the bountiful East-West parallels.--Atlantic
A fascinating [story], and exceedingly well told.... What makes this book particularly useful is the way it situates [the Arab-Israeli conflict] within the wider context of the Arabs' long, and still unsuccessful, struggle to come to more equal terms with the West.... An exemplary history.--Economist
A masterful, thorough, and well-written survey of the entire sweep of modern Arab history. Full of lively vignettes but comprehensive at the same time, this book will be of great interest both to general readers and students of the Arab world.--Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Columbia University
A straightforward, careful primer on Arab political history from the rise of the Ottoman Empire to the forging of modern fundamentalist Islamic entities.... A sweeping history.--Kirkus Reviews
An eloquent grand narrative of optimism and despair.... Rogan's book is evocative, timely and illuminating for the general reader. The individual Arab voices that he uses to structure the narrative--ordinary people, intellectuals, activists and political leaders--provide a much needed insider perspective, which nuances stereotypical images of the Arab world in the media. Moreover, The Arabs discloses unfamiliar and unsettling truths on the vexed and often over-simplified relationship between the Arab world and its historical 'others, ' Europe, the west and Israel. Compelling as it is in its own right, this is indeed food for thought also for its relevance to world affairs at large.--BBC History Magazine
An entertaining, gracefully written, and eye-opening look at a diverse people whose history, culture and character are often badly misunderstood (if not actively distorted) here in the United States. Read it. You'll learn a lot.--Stephen M. Walt, ForeignPolicy.com
An excellent book.... Eugene Rogan has written an authoritative and wide-ranging history.--Times LiterarySupplement
An outstanding, gripping and exuberant narrative, full of flamboyant character sketches, witty asides and magisterial scholarship, that explains much of what we need to know about the world today.--Simon Sebag Montefiore, Financial Times
Eugene Rogan writes about the Middle East with exceptional empathy, wisdom, and insight. His book is a landmark in scholarship on this complex and controversial region. Western scholars have written extensively about the Middle East but mostly from the outside looking in. The Arabs often feature in their accounts as mere driftwood on the sea of international affairs. Rogan, by contrast, has narrated the history of the region over the last five centuries from the inside looking out. He tells the history of the Arabs from their own perspective, using an impressive range of Arabic sources. It is a fascinating story and in Eugene Rogan it has found its most gifted chronicler.--Avi Shlaim, author of The IronWall: Israel and the Arab World
No better guide to the modern history of the Arab world could be found than Eugene Rogan. He is attentive as much to the insider accounts in Arab memoirs as to the imperial schemes hatched in drawing rooms in Paris and London, as concerned with popular movements and uprisings as with elite reformism, and unafraid to confront directly and with the best evidence and documentation available the vexed issues of colonialism, Orientalism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rogan achieves a rare, and realistic synoptic vision of the way in which Arabness has been shaped by both indigenous forces and Western imperial ones. In recent years, the United States has attempted to rule Arabs while carefully avoiding knowing anything about them, a strategy that has yielded all too predictable results. Those in the West who aspire to engage the Arab world in more productive ways in the future will find Rogan an indispensable companion.--Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan, and author of Engagingthe Muslim World
Readable and reliable, this sweeping survey balances the unity of a coherent story with due attention to detail. As such, Rogan's contribution belongs in the company of the earlier classics by Hitti and Hourani.--Foreign Affairs
Rogan manages the somewhat staggering feat of outlining nearly 500 years of history in a way that is neither cursory nor overwhelming--and is based in the experiences of the people themselves.... [Rogan's] ability to gather and synthesize such a wealth of information, showing both the humanity and malice present on all sides, while neither bowing to nor accepting conventional wisdom, is truly remarkable. It's to be hoped that America's decision makers get their hands on a copy of The Arabs--and take very good notes.--Dallas Morning News
There can be few books better than this one to put in context the ongoing protests throughout the Middle East.--Guardian (UK)
This history focuses on the last 100 years of Arab politics, offering the perfect primer for anyone following the news right now.--Daily Telegraph (UK)
With eloquence, verve, and understanding, Eugene Rogan rightly reminds us that the world, and the Arabs themselves, need to remember the past. If we are to build a better relationship between the Arab world and the West, if we are to avoid making the same mistakes again and again, we need to know Arab history from its many high points to its low ones. I can think of no better guide on this crucially important journey than The Arabs.--Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris1919 and Nixon and Mao

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