A History of the Modern Middle East

A History of the Modern Middle East

A History of the Modern Middle East

A History of the Modern Middle East

Synopsis

This work provides a comprehensive analysis of modern Middle Eastern history from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the challenge of Western imperialism, to the Iranian Revolution and the Gulf War.

Excerpt

This book is intended to introduce Middle Eastern history to students and general readers who have not previously studied the subject. In the pages that follow, the term Middle East refers to the region from Egypt in the west through Iran in the east, and from Turkey in the north to the Arabian Peninsula in the south. I am aware that sound arguments exist for extending the geographical coverage to include Arab North Africa, the Sudan, and Islamic Afghanistan. However, I have decided to concentrate on the central Middle East, though I have suggested in the final chapter that the recently independent Islamic republics of Central Asia may be in the process of restoring their historic ties to the Middle East region. The primary chronological focus of the book is from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth centuries. I have added a new Part 5 to this second edition that has extensively revised, reorganized, and updated Part 4 of the original work so as to rethink the historical patterns of the past quarter century and to include developments up to early 1999. Part 5 also contains four new maps.

Although I have revised every chapter in this second edition to achieve greater clarity or to reflect new interpretations, the first four parts of the work retain the basic format of the original edition. In Part 1 I offer a general survey of the patterns of Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the eighteenth century. In Chapters 1 and 2 I present the main features of Islamic faith and ritual and examine the emergence of Islamic social and political institutions from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the end of the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In trying to portray Islam in its own terms and in its proper historical setting, I have suggested the importance of the interaction between the Islam of the Quranic revelations and the settled civilizations of the Near East. I have also stressed the global aspects of Islamic civilization and have tried to demonstrate that the dynamic of that civilization cannot be understood by focusing only on the rise and decline of one Middle Eastern Islamic empire but must be seen as a global pattern of several different centers of Islamic florescence, each true to the essentials of the Quranic revelations but each also anchored in economically and culturally unique settings. In Chapter 3 I examine the rise of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of Ottoman ruling institutions, discuss the rise and fall of the Iranian-based Safavid Empire, and con-

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