Blogs > Cliopatria > Top 21 Books in Middle East Studies [Modern]

Jan 20, 2006 4:47 pm

Top 21 Books in Middle East Studies [Modern]

The enterprising scholars at American University Cairo thought it worthwhile to poll M.E. professors [and sundries] on the"most interesting, informative and readable" books in the field of Modern Middle East Studies. 52 scholars of the M.E. responded and below is the top 21. I thought it would be useful for our readers as well. I have hyperlinked the entries to Amazon.

  1. Orientalism by Edward Said 1978
  2. The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq by Hanna Batatu, 1978
  3. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age by Albert Hourani, 1962
  4. A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani, 1991
  5. The Venture of Islam by Marshall Hodgson, 1975 [3 vols.]
  6. Colonising Egypt by Timothy Mitchell, 1988
  7. The Mantle of the Prophet by Roy Mottahedeh, 1986
  8. Contending Visions of the Middle East by Zachary Lockman, 2004
  9. Women and Gender in Islam by Leila Ahmed, 1992
  10. The Emergence of Modern Turkey by Bernard Lewis, 1961
  11. Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East by Nazih Ayubi, 1995
  12. A Political Economy of the Middle East by Alan Richards & John Waterbury, 1990
  13. A History of Islamic Societies by Ira Lapidus, 1988
  14. Rule of Experts by Timothy Mitchell, 2002
  15. Ambiguities of Domination by Lisa Wedeen, 1999
  16. The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun, 1377
  17. A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin, 1989
  18. Armed Struggle and the Search for State by Yezid Sayigh, 1997
  19. State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East by Roger Owen, 1992
  20. Society of the Muslim Brothers by Richard Mitchell, 1969
  21. Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy by Michael Hudson, 1977

I must admit that I am a tad confused by the presence of Lockman and Fromkin entries and the abscence of Olivier Roy's The Failure of Political Islam or Joseph Schacht's The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence. My choices didn't even make the honorable mentions! Shows what I know.

Would the readers like to offer their suggestions?

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More Comments:

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

How is Ibn Khaldun's Muqqaddima an interesting, informative or readable book in modern Near East Studies?

Manan Ahmed - 1/19/2006

The compilers state: "Also, even after we included our timelime limiting recommendations to the last century, professors continued to list Ibn Khaldun's 1377 work The Muqaddimah."

Guess the "professors" are not good at reading comprehension.

Louis Nelson Proyect - 1/19/2006

1. Tariq Ali, The Clash of Fundamentalisms

2. Maxime Rodinson: The Arabs, Marxism and the Muslim world, Europe and the Mystique of Islam, Muhammad

3. Tom Segev, "The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust"

4. Norman Finkelstein, "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict"

5. Israel Shahak, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years"