Studying the Middle East is not always easy. Depending on the book you read, the bias can be very strong. For those that really want to know the truth and see how the Middle East grew and developed historically, one needs a book that can show the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. James L. Gelvin’s The Modern Middle East: A History is one book history lovers need to read.
This book does not spend an exorbitant time on ancient history, but it does give it over twenty pages of discussion. From there, the book dives into the modern world of the Middle East. When the author states modern, he is not talking just the twenty-first century. He begins his detailed analysis in the 1800s as so many events during that period lay the ground work for the issues and triumphs of this century.
The print of this book is very small. Though there are over three hundred pages of reading, the amount of information is much more than a standard book of that size. If you have trouble reading small print, this book could prove to be a problem for you.
There are several things that make this book such a great resource aside from the numerous pages of reading. The author has included pictures and maps which helps those that are visual learners. Mr. Gelvin also includes biographical sketches, a timeline, excerpts from various documents, as well as a glossary. The glossary can come in handy when you are not familiar with Middle Eastern terms or titles. The timeline is great for keeping the events in order and as a reference.
What are the disadvantages to this book?
- Does not cover ancient history, but it is a book on the modern Middle East.
- Extremely small print
- Read can be a little dry. This is an academic book and not a summer beach reading book.
What are the advantages of this book?
- Great resource for the study of problems today in the Middle East
- Biographical sketches
- Document excerpts
- Visual aids
If you are interested in studying the Middle East, you really need to check out this book. It gives a wonderful account of how the Middle East was developed and a better understanding of it today. The link to purchase the book is provided for you below.
Note: This book was provided to be as part of a Middle East history class.