[PDF / Epub] ✅ A History of the Arab Peoples Author Albert Hourani – Saudionline.co.uk

A History of the Arab Peoples pdf A History of the Arab Peoples, ebook A History of the Arab Peoples, epub A History of the Arab Peoples, doc A History of the Arab Peoples, e-pub A History of the Arab Peoples, A History of the Arab Peoples 3d34d09d044 Encyclopedic And Panoramic In Its Scope, This Fascinating Work Chronicles The Rich Spiritual, Political, And Cultural Institutions Of Arab History ThroughCenturiesNo Region In The World Today Is Important Than The Middle East No People Misunderstood Than The Arabs In This Definitive Masterwork, Distinguished Oxford Historian Albert Hourani Offers The Most Lucid, Enlightening History Ever Written On The Subject From The Rise Of Islam To The Palestinian Issue, From The Prophet Mohammed To Mu Ammar Al Qadhafi A History Of The Arab Peoples Chronicles The Rich Spiritual, Political And Cultural Institutions Of This Civilization Through Thirteen Centuries Of War, Peace, Literature And Religion Lauded By Authorities, Encyclopedic And Panoramic In Its Scope, Here Is A Remarkable Window On Today S Conflicts And On The Future Of A Glorious And Troubled Land


10 thoughts on “A History of the Arab Peoples

  1. says:

    For some reason unbeknownst to me I have a fascination with the history of the Middle East Anatolia From the Byzantines to the Ottomans I just find the history of the region of the people really interesting I think it may be because there is such a unique mixing of people, cultures, and ideas in the region that engaging to me than, say, Tudor England or Colonial America This region has seen some of the greatest world empires, it is the birthplace of the major Monotheistic religions, and has exchanged hands innumerable times, resulting in a unique blending of cultures and peoples not seen anywhere else I am not as well read or knowledgeable about the Arab portion of the story so I was eager to dive into this extensive book.And extensive this book is Hourani aims to provide the reader with a total understanding of how Arab and later non Arab Muslim society was structured From the early Arab tribesmen and I kid you not the type of poetry they created to cosmopolitan Damascus to the dry stretches of North Africa Hourani dives into the dynamics of how these societies operated and their relationship with the wider Arab speaking world While this does get a bit dry at times insert desert pun here the reader gets an excellent window into how the people of the past lived For me the most illuminating part was all the interlocking interests that existed in the Arab speaking world It wasn t as simple as the Shah Caliph King issuing an order and it being carried out, there were many layers of control, influence, and interests For instance there is a pretty constant back and forth between the settled peoples of the land and the nomadic herdsman Depending on political conditions how strong or weak a central government was , the climate, and economic factors the settled folks might be dominant over the herdsman or the other way around It was a relationship in constant flux and impacted the local balance of power.Another fascinating relationship was between the religious leaders the ulama and secular authorities On the one hand there were those who held that the religious and secular worlds should be separate In hell there is a valley uniquely reserved for ulama who visit kings while others who thought they could influence leaders and ensure that religious laws and customs were enforced in the land Of course it didn t hurt that secular leaders would build and maintain mosques, endow religious colleges, and generally look to secure legitimacy from the religious leaders This relationship, like all others across time, changed with the coming of modernity and the need for Arab states to modernize in the face of potential domination by the West.I had also under appreciated the impact that the spread of Arab as a spoken language would have on societies By conquering and holding such a vast stretch of land the initial Arab conquerors brought their language to a wider population and made it the official language of government This also made it the unofficial language of trade across the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as across the silk road trade routes This common language and shared Islamic culture really helped facilitate long term trade and credit and drive the economic engine of the Arab world, which at the time far surpassed contemporary Western Christendom.For me, though, the most compelling section dealt with how European powers came to dominate and occupy Arab states and how this dominance altered the traditional patterns of life in these states Being conquered by unbelievers who were clearly organizationally, technologically, and economically advanced than the Arab societies was a shock to those societies One passage especially stood out to be regarding just how dominant the West had become economically British exports to the eastern Mediterranean countries increased 800% in value between 1815 and 1850 by that time beduin in the Syrian desert were wearing shirts made of Lancashire cotton The reaction to this dominance was a move by many states to emulate Western culture, from colleges, to governmental structures, to new economic relationships As Western business interests expanded in these states, primarily driven by resource extraction and agricultural projects, there was a mixing of European migrants and the upper echelon of Arab speaking societies This facilitated the further transfer of such Western ideas such as freedom, nationalism, and representative government to these states, but mixed with Islamic beliefs and sensibilities While the base ideas were Western the Arab speaking states adapted them to their own history, circumstances, and culture.All in all this was a very extensive and exhaustive examination and exploration of Arab speaking cultures from its beginning in the Arabian Desert through roughly 2002 hence the New Afterward If you are looking for an introductory book on Arab speaking and Islamic culture I would suggest Destiny Disrupted, it is a lot accessible to a first time reader and shorter too But if you are looking for a complex and complete view, of Arab speaking societies and already have a pretty solid knowledge base of Islamic history, this is the book for you.


  2. says:

    First, a preliminary comment warranted by any book of this size and magnitude, there is something overwhelming about engaging in the entire history of a people in one book It was a feat that Hourani should have been proud of.The book is jam packed with information It is fairly readable, considering the length, but Hourani accomplished the readability by not including any footnotes, only general references at the end of the book This means, essentially, that none of his facts or statistics or anything can be checked, and it makes it extremely difficult to follow his line of research, and engage in one own s research from his book It s not a massive drawback, given the ease with one can access information about a subject or topic, but it would have been nice to have been able to see where he drew certain statistics facts from.As far as content goes, Hourani does an excellent job of mitigating the potential pitfalls of attempting to cover such a vast topic He does well encompassing a variety of aspects, including political and social movements, culture and literature, economics, etc There are many aspects of this which leave the reader hanging, however Often, a revolt or uprising is mentioned, with no context and no other information It is simply given by name or, sometimes, not even named at all Since he doesn t cite his source, you cannot often go back and figure it out without an enormously frustrating amount of time shooting in the dark on the internet.One of the major drawbacks is his treatment of empire He is far too lenient on the imperial powers, especially Britain he seems to be harder on France, for whatever reason, perhaps because of his own location The way his book presents empire, one imagines that the great imperial powers had their own interests, which they took care of, but were generally benevolent masters which simply made mistakes due to a lack of knowledge, bad choices, etc I think, before engaging a book like this, one ought to read Michael Parenti s Against Empire or The Face of Imperialism just to have a primer on how imperialism works.The next point, and this was a shock to me, Hourani completely whitewashes the 1948 Palestinian Nakba He present it as, essentially, a war between two equal sides, in which the Zionist forces were better prepared and won the day He mentions a few hundred thousand Palestinians become refugees, but doesn t mention any of the terror, the violence, the death brought about by Zionist policy, outlined, for instance, in Plan Dalet I would suggest, as an antidote to this, one reads the alexipharmic book by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe titled The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine At any rate, if you want something to satisfy a basic desire to engage the Arab world, this is the book.


  3. says:

    This is not a book for the faint of heart To be honest, I stopped reading the book halfway through the section on the Ottoman Empire It s huge, dry, oftentimes boring, but it gets the job done This book lacks many of the exciting details usually covered in history, such as battles, wars, biographies, etc However, whatever it lacks in excitement it totally makes up for in raw information If you want to know how peasants in medieval Syria lived, bam Here s your book If you want to know the relationship between pastoral nomads, rural farmers, and urban craftsmen, here s your book If you want to know about the roots of Sunnism and different schools of Islamic thought, this is your book.If you re a normal human being who expects to get through this monster in a few days, you probably shouldn t read this book I am a fan of Islamic history and this is too hardcore, even for me However, I did feel like I left with a better understanding of medieval Islamic society For example, many people think that people converted to Islam directly because of the Muslim conquests, but the majority of the people living in Muslim territories were actually non Muslims There was an intricate balance between the conquerors and the conquered All in all, it was a peaceful balance After all, these people were valuable as government administrators, and there were various other instances where non Muslims were actually important For example, Jews were crucial in the trade with Byzantium during a time when Byzantine Arab relations were extremely sour In a humorous example, Muslims are not allowed to produce or consume alcohol, but oftentimes, they would secretly buy bottles from Christians, and this happened frequently, apparently In truth, medieval Islam was an incredibly complex, cosmopolitan, multicultural, multi faith society It was surprisingly urban especially compared to medieval Europe, perhaps even comparable to medieval China , and it produced many great cities It connected the world by linking the Indian Ocean trade with the Mediterranean.That s what I got out of this book This is a book about people and their societies It s almost anthropological in nature, as opposed to what you might expect from other conventional history books If this is what you re looking for, by all means, check this book out, but if you re looking for something exciting, look elsewhere.If you do decided to read this, try to approach it like you would an encyclopedia Read certain selections and skim through others Take it out of your bookshelf whenever you might need to use it as reference You will have to be brave to read this thing in one go.


  4. says:

    For those interested in a factual and well written account of the history of the middle east, Hourani s History of the Arab Peoples is extraordinarily good There is no political grandstanding here, just facts It is absolutely fascinating to see how the tribes in which the Prophet Mohammed became a major military and cultural force in only a few centuries conquering northern Africa to Malaysia You learn about the split between the shiites and sunnites, the spin offs such as the dervishes and the sufis, and the various dynasties that culminated in the Ottoman caliphate Given the current political context of lies, lies and damn lies, it is a critical read to get a true version of the history of the Arab peoples and a better understanding of historical Islam to better contextualise the current world situation.


  5. says:

    I m always impressed by scholars who can write these grand synthetic histories that draw together vast spans of time and space In this case, the project is made all the difficult because there is a long middle period in Arab history about which we know very little Understandably, Hourani treats his starting point as the emergence of the school of thought that has become Islam sources for any earlier period are patchy but it also causes a problem in that the period covered by the 11th to the 15th centuries in the Christian calendar therefore seem flat, and a paucity of sources mean that Hourani must conjecture than we usually do when writing history, and the section of the book reads like a historical ethnography But to focus on this and the broader empiricist narrative is to miss a key point Hourani has, in many ways, constructed a modern version of the kind of history outlined by the 14th century AD, again 8th century AH Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun, and in doing so has written an ideologically disruptive history that places the Arab world at the centre of its own story Agency lies with the Arab world with Europe the usual centre of world histories only appearing from time to time until the age of the great European empires This is a dense book in places but then it does cover a large sweep of North Africa and West Asia over 1400 years in only 450 pages but well worth it And in this recent English edition the afterword by Malise Ruthven, written just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is worth it for its prescience Highly recommended.


  6. says:

    Hourani acknowledges the challenges of his narrative in that his focus could be both too large or too small preface, xvii It s a complicated matter to communicate a culture and people that have been shaped so foundationally by a particular revelation and Prophet made even complex by the fact that their part of the world has rich meaning and value on many levels for everyone else On top of this, Orientalism has inserted itself into the English language quite effectively, as have many other racist prejudices that have become a core of our speech It ultimately requires learning another language to truly understand, and I m just now beginning that process myself In addition to all this, Hourani was a Christian, not a Muslim, but his native language, Arabic, was of course so shaped by Islam that his tone gives a perspective of the non Muslim that is unique in English histories As a point of departure, Hourani acknowledges the Muslim historian Khaldun as shaping the paradigm of his writing Khaldun s Muqaddima Prolegomena is next on my reading list, and in it according to Hourani , Khaldun sees historical patterns in the form of rulers with exclusive authority of groups of followers possessing asabiyya or a corporate spirit oriented towards obtaining and keeping power This might likely occur from a sense of a common ancestry or ties of dependence reinforced by a common acceptance of a religion On top of this, Khaldun believed that every ruling structure bore within itself the seeds of its own decline as power would ultimately corrupt one group and then pass to another group with this common core solidarity The point where religion and culture intersect is a complicated issue, particularly in a history of the Arabs Islam as a faith is all encompassing, much so than Christianity in practice, and in the case of Islam, the Arabic language itself owes much of its present construction to linguistic methods and phrases derived from the Qur an To say that the Qur an is in the very subconscious of Arabic speaking peoples would be true on multiple levels, spiritual or otherwise, no matter their beliefs regarding God On top of this, to define Islam, or pin it down to one specific meaning, is laid out as close to impossible, yet this common identity with multiple manifestations also accounts for its longevity Hourani sets up these ideas as a prelude to our current time, when all these foundations collide with modern day politics, economics, massive population growth and demand for resources to create a perfect storm of potential conflict in a part of the world that holds spiritual traditions and coveted material resources for most of the planet Reading a book like this shows how misguided it can be to reduce ideas concerning Islam or Arabs to simplistic perceptions based only on extremists Violence that takes the form of religion is arguably rarely about religion At base it s much likely based on some sort of struggle for survival, whether political or social Religion in the end is symbolic for ultimate reality It s a language that expresses deeper ideas Hourani s history should be required reading for any English speaker, particularly this year in this US election cycle.


  7. says:

    An outstanding and thought provoking book with some scarily accurate thoughts on how the situation in the Middle East might develop The afterword by Malise Ruthven in 2002 discusses how the issues raised by Hourani s book have developed since his death a decade earlier and of course so much has happened since even that was written.I found this a fascinating and highly readable work, with a wide ranging investigation into the history of so many nation states and political and religious factions I enjoyed it even than John Julius Norwich s Byzantium trilogy, mainly because it continues into this century and offers a perspective on events such as the Suez crisis, the assassination of Sadat and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan This may be a scholarly book, but it is anything but dry to read and it offers a wealth of information and insight into how the Middle East came to be as it is I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in this area.


  8. says:

    Albert Hourani s A History of the Arab Peoples gives an excellent background how the peoples of the Arab world got from the days of Muhammad to 1991, the year the book was published There are many additional chapters to be written after September 11, 2001 the US invasion of Iraq the so called Arab Spring the Syrian Civil War the advent of ISIS the downfall of Qaddafi in Libya and the movement of peoples from the Arab world en masse to Europe These would be hard chapters to write, as we are still very much in the middle of all these events or of their repercussions.The first half of the book is particularly valuable The second half, which brings in the fall of the Ottoman Empire and an uncomfortable for both sides engagement with the Western World It is difficult to see from where we stand today how all this will play out between the West and the Muslim peoples of the Middle east and North Africa There is a famous question that someone asked V I Lenin about what he thought, after the October Revolution, of the French Revolution Lenin wisely answered, It s still too early to tell Likewise, it s way to early to make predictions about some of the central issues of world politics and demographics.


  9. says:

    I believe this book was recommended by a secular Muslim friend who loaned me her copy It was, remarkably, the first book about Arab history as a whole that I d ever read and is designed for Anglo Americans who aren t very familiar with Arab history.


  10. says:

    As the title says, there are Arab people s There is no uniform group Similarly, Hourani shows that the plural of the title would apply to Muslims as well As with Christians, there have always been divisions and not just Sunni and Shia Political differences, social differences, etc divide both Arabs and Muslims just as they do other groups Read this book if you want to get a sense of the diversity that has been almost nonexistent in the hate language of Western bigots.


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