978-0-8133-0563-9 / 9780813305639

A History Of The Modern Middle East


Publisher:Westview Press



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About the book:

This comprehensive work provides a penetrating analysis of modern Middle Eastern history, from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the challenge of Western imperialism, to the Iranian Revolution and the recent Gulf War. After introducing the reader to the regions history from the origins of Islam in the seventh century, Cleveland focuses on the past two centuries of profound and often dramatic change. While built around a framework of political history, the book also carefully integrates social, cultural, and economic developments into a single, carefully crafted account.Cleveland sets the stage with a superb, concise overview of the long-term, general patterns of Middle Eastern history. The book opens with a portrayal of Islam that stresses an understanding of this great world religion and culture on its own terms and in its specific historical setting. The rich potential of this culture manifested itself in shifting centers of Islamic florescence, culminating in the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires as the central political and social entities of the Middle East in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries.The book next examines the crucial developments of the nineteenth century—an era characterized by attempts at the self-transformation of Middle Eastern societies, a process sometimes misleadingly referred to as “modernization or “Westernization. The resulting disruption of the established order was a wrenching and disorienting experience for the peoples of the region.Defeat in World War I delivered the coup de grace to Ottoman rule and brought in the “mandate system through which the British and the French sought to impose their overlordship on the Arab world. The interwar years, through to the end of World War II, were characterized by the Arab struggle for independence. This struggle led to the emergence of the major political ideologies of the Arab world—regionalism, pan-Arab nationalism—combined with the enduring appeal of Islamic solidarity. During this same period the two major independent states of the region, Turkey and Iran, embarked on intensive programs of secular reform designed to remake their societies in the image of the West. Several Arab states were able to establish their independence, but this process was greatly complicated by the legacies of European rule, especially the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 and the cold war rivalry of the superpowers.Many of the problems faced in the region today are a direct consequence of this historical legacy: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the concentration of oil wealth into the hands of a few, the Iran-Iraq war, the Palestinian problem, the dissolution of Lebanon, Islamic fundamentalism, and the striving for power on the world stage of states such as Syria, Iraq, and Iran.A History of the Modern Middle East explains the deep historical currents flowing beneath todays headlines, making it essential reading for anyone seeking a better understanding of todays turbulent world.

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