A History of the Modern Middle East

A History of the Modern Middle East

eBook - 2013
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"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 impact of US foreign policies. After introducing the reader to the region's history from the origins of Islam in the seventh century, A History of the Modern Middle East focuses on the past two centuries of profound and often dramatic change. Although built around a framework of political history, the book also carefully integrates social, cultural, and economic developments into a single, expertly crafted account. In updating this fifth edition of the late William Cleveland's popular introductory text, Martin Bunton provides a thorough account of the major transformative developments over the past four years, including a new chapter on the tumultuous Arab uprisings and the participation of Islamist parties in a new political order in the Middle East"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boulder, CO :, Westview Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group,, [2013]
Edition: Fifth edition
Copyright Date: Ă2013
ISBN: 9780813348346
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1176 pages) : illustrations, maps
Additional Contributors: Bunton, Martin P. - Author


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Mar 04, 2015

Posthumous 5th edition of a popular college text, with material added by a colleague of the original author. At the beginning the focus is on the growth of Islam as a whole, then on the various Muslim nations of the Middle East as Britain and France influence their formation after WW I. This had to do with the needs of the West, especially controlling power, and the greed for Middle East oil. The countries themselves had virtually no say in their borders, with terrible repercussions to this day. Iraq, for instance, includes ethnic Kurds in the north, a majority of Sunnis, but were ruled by Shi'ia. Over each country, the West tried to put a monarch congenial to them, even if he had to be imported from another country, as happened several times. All this created systems ripe for corruption. In many countries tribalism and nepotism, with top jobs in whatever system going to members of the ruler's family or tribe led to increasing gaps between rich and poor. Improved education could lead to a class of educated young men who could never get jobs, leaving them open to radicalization. Islam, rather than being a binding factor between nations, could be interpreted so differently as to lead to war, as between Iraq and Iran. Then there was the issue of Zionism and Israel, which became a state only because the Jews fought for it in 1948, taking land which the Palestinians felt had been by right theirs for thousands of years. Since the Israelis, just having survived the Holocaust, had the same belief about the same land, ground was laid for the many wars that followed. Eventually, with the decline of the Soviet Union and the rise of the US as a world power after WW II, France and Britain's power in the area declined somewhat, and that of the US, the greatest importer of oil, increased. As the greatest “friend and supporter” of Israel, the US became the greatest enemy of many Arab nations, even as the US supplied them with arms and other supplies in order to get access to their oil. This book is a slog to read in places. But the authors call the political shots as they see them, and this book, or one like it, should be required reading not just for every college student, but for every American who wants some grasp of what's going on today in the Middle East. As they say of our reaction to 9/11, “Why do they hate us?” Books like this help us understand the answer, without oversimplifying the negative aspects of some Middle Eastern countries. The 2013 date is misleading; it has some material on the beginning of the “Arab Spring” movement which began in 2011, but leaves out, for instance, the killing of Osama bin Ladin in May of that year.

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