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Annotated Bibliography

The following sources have been useful in preparing this site and are generally useful in studying Middle Eastern Culture. Books listed can be ordered from Alibris by clicking on the cover image.

General Sources




Cover of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
Carter, Jimmy. Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.)

This book focuses on President Carter's involvement in the Israel - Palestine peace process from his time as governor of Georgia to the present and his opinions of the action and players. In addition, it is an excellent, readable summary of Middle Eastern history; focused primarily, but not exclusively, on Israel and Palestine. The time line of key events from Abraham's journey to Canaan up to the present at the beginning of the book is invaluable. See also my in-depth review of this book at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27344.asp

CIA. The World Factbook. 19 September 2006. Central Intelligence Agency. 21 September 2006 <https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>.

An excellent source of factual information on the nations of the world, updated regularly. If you need a map or basic information about a country, the Factbook is the place to go. Additionally, all information in the Factbook is in the public domain.

cover of A Concise History of the Middle EastGoldschmidt Jr., Arthur.A Concise History of the Middle East.7th / 25th Anniversary Edition. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002.)

One of the classic textbooks in the field of Middle Eastern Studies. It covers the Middle East from the fall of Rome in 476 CE to the present (with new editions every few years to keep it current.) It defines the Middle East as the area from Egypt's Nile Valley through Muslim Asia and from Southeast Europe to the Indian Ocean.

cover of Joy of CookingRombauer, Irma S. and Marion Rombauer Becker. Joy of Cooking. 1975 edition. (New York: Scribner, 1975.)

This edition of the Joy of Cooking is an invaluable resource for understanding and recreating historical and recipes and food references. It is a necessity for converting foreign recipes to local (where either foreign or local refers to English-speaking North America.) It contains a more complete study of food and ingredients than newer editions. Unlike older editions, it includes results from some important food safety research done in the early seventies and ingredients mentioned are readily available in today's stores. (For instance, the baking recipes have been adapted to use dry yeast, not the almost impossible to find cake yeast.) Luckily, due to this value to the amateur food historian, this edition has been reprinted and is still available.


Further Sources on Alia Muhammad Baker



Arnoult, Jean-Marie. Assessment of Iraqi cultural heritage Libraries and Archives. June 27-July 6, 2003. July 2003. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS). 14 October 2006 <http://www.ifla.org/VI/4/admin/iraq2407.htm/>

A report by the Inspecteur général des bibliothèques of Paris, France on the state of libraries and manuscript archives shortly after the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. It includes photos of damaged libraries and descriptions of the damage to and state of various collections in Iraq. The report was sponsored by the International Committee of the Blue Shield, whose mission is ”to work for the protection of the world's cultural heritage by co-ordinating preparations to meet and respond to emergency situations.”

Association for Library Services to Children. “Current Notable Children's Books List.” 2006. American Library Association (ALA), Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC). 14 October 2006 <http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/childrensnotable/notablecbooklist/currentnotable.htm./>

Listing and short descriptions of the ALA's Association for Library Services to Children's Notable Children's Books. An excellent resource for finding quality children's books on any subject.

Dewan, Shaila K. "Books Spirited to Safety Before Iraq Library Fire." New York Times [New York, N.Y.] 27 July 2003, Late Edition (East Coast): 1.13. National Newspapers (5). ProQuest. Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR. 8 Oct. 2006 <http://www.proquest.com/>.

The original New York Times story about Alia Muhammad Baker, the chief librarian of the Basra, Iraq Central Library who saved 70% of the library's collection from fire and looters during the 2003 war in Iraq. This article inspired 2 children's books – Alia's Mission by Mark Alan Stamaty and The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter.

Jones, Chuck. "Al Basrah Central Library Returns to the People." Online posting. 6 May 2004. IraqCrisis. 10 October 2006. <https://listhost.uchicago.edu/mailman/listinfo/iraqcrisis/>.

A press release announcing the reconstruction and reopening of the Basra, Iraq Central Library (Al Basrah) posted on the IraqCrisis list which documents and communicates information on lost, damaged, and destroyed museum and library materials during and after the Iraq war of April 2003.

Shelby, David. "Iraqi Librarian's Heroic Tale Inspires Two Children's Books." 25 Mar 2005. US Department of State. 10 October, 2006. <http://usinfo.state.gov/mena/Archive/2005/Mar/25-768814.html>.

A summary of the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, the librarian who saved much of the collection of the Basra Public Library, and the two books it inspired from the State Department's International Information Programs. This article includes excerpts from an interview with Shaila Dewan, the author of the original New York Times article on Alia Muhammad Baker.

Staikos, K. SP. "History (Mesopotamian)" Libraries: History of the Private Royal, Imperial, Monastic and Public Libraries. 15 January 2004. 8 October 2006 <http://www.libraries.gr/nonmembers/en/history_mesopotamia_soumer.htm/>.


A section on Mesopotamian libraries from an amazing site on library history and historical libraries from the first libraries through the Renaissance. The site, available in English and Greek, includes detailed information and historical photos.

Alia's MissionStamaty, Mark Alan. Alia's Mission: Saving The Books of Iraq. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.)

A graphic novel depicting the efforts of Alia Muhammad Baker, the Chief Librarian of Basra, Iraq, to save the library's collection during the British invasion of Basra in 2003. The book also includes an excellent page of further information on the history of libraries in Iraq and the Middle East. Although marked as juvenile literature, this is definitely a book adults will appreciate as well. For younger children, Jeanette Winter's The Librarian of Basra would probably be a better choice. Alia's Mission was inspired by Shaila Dewan's July 23, 2003 New York Times article “Books Spirited to Safety Before Iraq Library Fire,” and it's only fictional touches seem to be regarding the exact contents of various conversations.


The Librarian of Basra
Winter, Jeanette. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq. (New York: Harcourt, Inc, 2005).

A beautifully illustrated picture book presenting the story of Alia Muhammad Baker and the 2003 invasion of Basra, Iraq. This book is more appropriate for, and more likely to hold the interest of, younger children than Mark Alan Stamaty's Alia's Mission, but includes less information. It would be an excellent book to use when talking about war with young children. The Librarian of Basra was inspired by Shaila Dewan's July 23, 2003 New York Times article “Books Spirited to Safety Before Iraq Library Fire.” A portion of the proceeds from The Librarian of Basra go towards a fund to help rebuild the Basra Central Library's book collection.


Additional Sources on The Crescent Moon



"Crescent." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Dec 2006, 15:49 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 Dec 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crescent&oldid=92238934.>

A very interesting article on the crescent form and its meaning in different contexts. Unfortunately, this article contains neither references nor citations, so it is really only useful as a source of ideas for further research.


A Group of Islamic Researchers. ”Is the crescent moon symbol of Islam?” 2 October 2001. IslamOnline.net, Living Shari`ah, Fatwa Bank. 7 December 2006. <http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503544398.>

Sheik Yusuf Estes explains why Muslim beliefs preclude having a symbol of Islam.


Narbaez Jr., Rafael. “The Star and Crescent - Is the Symbol of Islam Shirk?” Mission Islam. 13 December 2006 <http://www.missionislam.com/conissues/crescent.htm.>

A well thought out report by a convert to Islam on his research into the source of the Star and Crescent and their meaning for Muslims.


Raeside, Rob et al. ”Islamic Flags.” 18 March 2006. Flags of the
World. 7 December 2006. <http://www.fotw.net/flags/islam.html.>

Descriptions of a number of flags historically related to Islam and the meanings of their symbols.


”Relevance of the Star and the Crescent in the Islamic faith...“ 13 June 2000. Understanding Islam. 12 December 2006 <http://www.understanding-islam.com/related/text.asp?type=question&qid=281.>

A very insightful Muslim opinion on the relationship of the star and crescent to the faith.


U.S. Navel Observatory. “Crescent Moon Visibility and the Islamic Calendar.” April 25, 2006. U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department. 5 December 2006 <http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/islamic.html/.>

Discussion of the astronomical issues in determining the first visible crescent moon, the mark of beginning of the month according to the Islamic calendar.


Additional Sources on Plum Pudding


”Austro-German Report on the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917.” 28 February 2004. First World War.com - Primary Documents. 19 December 2006 <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/jerusalem_bodart.htm>

FirstWorldWar.com's text of the official Austro-German report on the fall of Jerusalem with a short contextual introduction and links to other related primary documents - a historical overview of the fall by E W G Masterman, the secretary of the British Palestine Society, and Sir Edmund Allenby's report of the fall and official proclamation of marshal law.

”E W G Masterman on the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917.” 28 February 2004. First World War.com - Primary Documents. 19 December 2006 <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/jerusalem_masterman.htm>

FirstWorldWar.com's text of a historical overview of the fall of Jerusalem, written by the secretary of the British Palestine Society, E W G Masterman, with a short contextual introduction and links to other related primary documents - the official Austro-German report and Sir Edmund Allenby's report of the fall and official proclamation of marshal law.

Prescot, James, trans. Le Viandier de Taillevent. 20 December 2006 <http://www.telusplanet.net/public/prescotj/data/personal.html>

James Prescot's English translation of Le Viandier de Taillevent, the 14th Century cookbook by the famous French royal chef Guillaume Tirel, who preferred to be known as Taillevent. Le Viandier is one of the first known cookbooks, although it resembles more the shorthand notes chefs share of different ways to prepare known dishes than today's cookbooks. This translation is from the Vatican manuscript (one of four remaining manuscripts), with a selection of recipes from other sources. Hypertext is used to good effect to allow access to the different sections of the document, adding to this source's reference value.


Rogov, Daniel. “The General's Holiday Favorite.” The Jerusalem Post [Jerusalem] 20 December 2004.

Rogov, Daniel. “Israel - Christmas in Jerusalem.” 2 August 2004. Strat's Place. 10 December 2006 <http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/israel/christmas_jerusalem.html>

Daniel Rogov tells the story of General Allenby's 1917 Christmas Pudding in Jerusalem and Taillevent, the inventor's Jewish background. Also includes more facts about plum pudding and a traditional recipe.

”Sir Edmund Allenby on the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917.” 28 February 2004. First World War.com - Primary Documents. 19 December 2006 <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/jerusalem_allenby1.htm>

FirstWorldWar.com's text of Sir Edmund Allenby's report on the fall of Jerusalem with a short contextual introduction and links to other related primary documents – Allenby's official proclamation of marshal law, the official Austro-German report, and a historical overview of the fall by E W G Masterman, the secretary of the British Palestine Society.

”Sir Edmund Allenby's Proclamation Following the Fall of Jerusalem, 9 December 1917.” 28 February 2004. First World War.com - Primary Documents. 19 December 2006 <http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/jerusalem_allenbyprocl.htm>

FirstWorldWar.com's text of Sir Edmund Allenby's official proclamation of marshal law in Jerusalem with a short contextual introduction and links to other related primary documents – Allenby's report of the fall of the city, the official Austro-German report, and a historical overview of the fall by E W G Masterman, the secretary of the British Palestine Society.


Additional Sources on the Hamsa




Cover of Hands-On Ancient People: Volume 1
Merrill, Yvonne Y. Hands-On Ancient People: Volume 1: Art Activities About Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Islam. (Salt Lake City: KITS Publishing, 2002.)

This is an excellent source of traditional patterns, symbols and visual imagery from the Middle East with simple explanations of their historical and cultural context. This book is one of a series of books aimed at late elementary through high school students teaching history and cultures by creating models and reproductions of authentic artifacts. It is an excellent introduction to the ancient Middle East and Islam for visual and kinesthetic learners of all ages.

Ngina, Tamu. "Hamsa Art." 2006. Libra Woman Art. 19 January 2007. <http://www.maznayim.com/hamsa/.>

Samples of some of artist Tamu Ngina's artwork featuring the hamsa as well as the results of some of her research into the meaning of the hamsa.

tpkunesh@darkfiber.net. ”the Eye in Hand / el Ojo en la Mano.” 17 December 2006. Darkfiber.com. 19 January 2007. <http://www.darkfiber.com/eyeinhand/.>

A gallery of images of the eye in hand icon as found throughout the world with descriptive and anthropological commentary. This is the most exhaustive source of both images and information I have found on the hamsa and related icons.

yronwode, catherine. The Lucky W Amulet Archive. 14 June 2004. Lucky Mojo. 18 January 2007. <http://www.luckymojo.com/luckyw.html.>

A large well researched site with illustrations and descriptions of amulets and lucky charms from all times and locations. It also includes an excellent discussion of the concept of the evil eye and evil eye traditions.



Additional Sources on the Roman Empire in the Middle East



Lendering, Jona. "Pontius Pilate." Livius. Articles on Ancient History. 17 March 2007. Livius. 18 March 2007. <http://www.livius.org/pi-pm/pilate/pilate01.htm.>

An exploration of the historical facts concerning Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea who ordered Jesus of Nazareth's execution.


Further Sources on Janissaries


"Janissary." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 20 Apr. 2007 <http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9043340/Janissary>.

Basic information on the Janissaries, including further references and a reproduction of a period painting of a Janissary.

Kjeilen, Tore. "Janissaries." Encyclopaedia of the Orient. 15 April 2007. LexicOrient. 2007. <http://lexicorient.com/e.o/janissaries.htm>.

A discussion and time line of the Janissaries and their roll in the Ottoman Empire from the always useful Encyclopaedia of the Orient. The linked article on divsirme is also of interest to students of the Janissaries.

Magnus Magimus. "The Janissaries." 15 April 2007. Тоже Восток. 15 September 2004. <http://www.tforum.info/forum/index.php?showtopic=4435>

A well-researched forum post on the Janissaries, focusing on things like makeup and troop strength at various times, details of uniforms and Janissary life. Unfortunately, most details are unreferenced, though it is apparent from the context that the information was carefully researched and analyzed.

"Orion 72010 - Turkish Janissary." Plastic Soldier Review. 14 April 2007. 2004. <http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.asp?manu=ORI&code=72010>

This is not a traditional academic or research site, but rather a site that reviews model soldiers. This review of a set of plastic Janissary figures includes quite a bit of interesting and obviously carefully-researched information about Janissary dress, fighting styles, and organization, as well as some history. It also photos of the models and their packaging, which can be useful in visualizing the Janissary force.


Further Sources on Middle Eastern Places You Aren't Likely to Find on a Map


"Names of the Levant." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Feb 2007, 03:32 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 20 Apr 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Names_of_the_Levant&oldid=110991988>.

An attempt at an exhaustive listing of the different names used to refer to the geographical region known as the Levant, covering multiple languages and time periods. This is an essential resource for any study of the area.

"Rumelia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Apr. 2007 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9064407>.

A concise description of the geographical area known as Rumelia, the origin of its name and its history.

Stefoff, Rebecca. The Ancient Near East. World Historical Atlases. Tarrytown, NY: Benchmark Books, 2005.

A solid, basic introduction to the lands and peoples of Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Egypt prior to the Common Era. This book includes a time line and both print and electronic references for further reading. Although intended as juvenile literature, I would recommend this book as a good starting point for all ages.


Further Sources on
Couscous - What is it and how do I cook it?


BBC. "Couscous." Glossary. 20 November 2007. BBC.co.uk Food. 20 November 2007. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/glossary/c.shtml?couscous.>

A culinary description of couscous with links to all types of couscous recipes on the BBC UK Food site.

"Couscous Bidawi Aux Sept Lgumes." 30 Recipes chosen from the Moroccan cuisine. 30 July 2007. Internet Archive. 21 November 2007. <http://web.archive.org/web/20070310231339/www.mincom.gov.ma/english/gallery/cuisine/recipes/couscous.htm.> <http://web.archive.org/web/20070222142517/www.mincom.gov.ma/french/galerie/cuisine/recettes/couscous.htm.>

A traditional couscous recipe from the Moroccan Ministry of Communications. This is part of a larger collection of traditional Moroccan recipes available in English and French. Some of the English translations are a bit rough, so it can be helpful to use the French version and translation software for comparison. Despite this difficulty, the dishes themselves are excellent. The Ministry of Communications website no longer contains this information, but it is still available through the Internet Archive.

Kjeilen, Tore. "Couscous." Encyclopaedia of the Orient. 20 November 2007. LexicOrient. 2007. <http://i-cias.com/e.o//couscous.htm.>

A short and simple explanation of couscous and how to make it from the always useful Encyclopaedia of the Orient.

Noakes, Greg, and Laidia Chouat Noakes. "Couscous: the Measure of the Magrib." Saudi Aramco World. Nov.-Dec. 1998. pp 16 -25. 20 Nov. 2007 <http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/199806/couscous-the.measure.of.the.maghrib.htm>

A history of couscous and it's role in Western Arabian culture. It includes an excellent description of the traditional method of making couscous.

Zadi, Farid. "The March of Couscous" Weblog entry. Book of Rai: International Food Blog. 30 July 2005. 20 November 2007 <http://mybookofrai.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/07/the_march_of_co.html>.

A blog entry from a self-described French chef of Algerian descent talking about couscous and its spread around the world.


Further Sources on Zalabiya and Awwamaat – Middle Eastern Christmas Treats


Cover of Visions Of SugarplumsMimi Sheraton. Visions of Sugarplums - A Cookbook of Cakes, Cookies Candies & Confections From All the Countries That Celebrate Christmas. (New York: Random House, 1968.)

As the title suggests, this book is an excellent source on foods eaten around the world to celebrate the Christmas season. It also includes interesting tidbits on when the foods are served and Christmas traditions.

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