The Arabs: A History (Hardcover)

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A magisterial and definitive account of five centuries of Arab history

About the Author

Eugene Rogan is a faculty fellow and university lecturer in the Modern History of the Middle East at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he serves as director of the Middle East Centre. His previous book, Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire, was judged by the Middle East Studies Association of North America to be the best work on the Middle East in 2000 and awarded the Albert Hourani Prize. He lives in Oxford, England.

Praise For…

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Columbia University
"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.”

Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan and author of Engaging the Muslim 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.”

Avi Shlaim, author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
“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.”

Sir Alistair Horne, author of A Savage War of Peace
“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.”

Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919 and Nixon and Mao
“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.”

“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.”

“Framing modern history as viewed from the Arab world, Rogan eruditely furnishes Western readers with a background to current events.”

The Atlantic
“[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."

Stephen M. Walt,
“[A]n 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.”

Simon Sebag Montefiore, for the Financial Times
“A rich, galloping narrative that spans the Arab world from Morocco to Yemen to Iraq… Rogan’s The Arabs: A History is 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.” 

The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“Very much a modern history… Rogan gives a lucid account of political developments throughout the Arab lands, unpicking messy tangles such as the Lebanese civil war or the fragmentation of Palestinian political movements.”

The Guardian (UK)
“The vivid narrative of The Arabs is… eloquent, and compulsively readable.”

The Economist
“[A] fascinating [story], and exceedingly well told…. What makes [Rogan’s] 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. Europeans in particular, and also Americans, need their memories jogged about just how arrogant, duplicitous and frequently stupid their governments have been in dealing with the Middle East…. [An] exemplary history.”

The Scotsman (UK)
“An incredibly ambitious book… wonderfully inclusive and articulate and knowledgeable, pretty much indispensable.”

The Times (UK)
“[The Arabs], which starts with the Ottoman Turks’ conquest of the Arab world in 1516-17, offers a strikingly vivid and authoritative account of its subsequent experience… [Rogan’s] rehearsal of recent Middle East history is impeccable.”

The Spectator
“Rogan’s brilliant book is clear-eyed and balanced. Mixing academic rigour with a lively narrative style, The Arabs: A History is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the background to the mess that the Arabs find themselves in.”

The Scotsman (UK)
"An incredibly ambitious book… wonderfully inclusive and articulate and knowledgeable, pretty much indispensable.”

The Times (UK)
“[The Arabs], which starts with the Ottoman Turks’ conquest of the Arab world in 1516-17, offers a strikingly vivid and authoritative account of its subsequent experience… [Rogan’s] rehearsal of recent Middle East history is impeccable.”

Dallas Morning News
“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.”

Foreign Affairs
“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.”

The Times Literary Supplement
“[An] excellent book…. Eugene Rogan has written an authoritative and wide-ranging history.”

Middle East Policy Journal
“[A] perceptive narrative of the past 500 years of Arab history…. This is a book for the general reader with little or no detailed knowledge of the Arab world. The writing is fluid and avoids academic theorizing and jargon…. However, even specialists should find this book a valuable guide to major events across the Arab world from Iraq to Morocco over an extensive period of time.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9780465071005
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2009
Pages: 592