- 7,99 €
The key to understanding the Arab world - today and in the future - lies in unlocking its past. John McHugo unfolds centuries of political, social and intellectual development, from the Roman Empire right up to the present day. Taking the reader beyond the headlines, McHugo presents a series of turning points in Arab history: the mission of the Prophet Muhammad, the expansion of Islam, the conflicts of the medieval and modern ages, the struggles against foreign domination, the rise of Islamism, and the end of the rule of dictators. Accessible and penetrating, this concise history reveals how the Arab world has come to assume its present form and illuminates the choices that lie ahead in the wake of the Arab Spring. 'A lucid and highly readable history of the Arab peoples up to the present day. John McHugo has managed to show, with compassion, a good deal of humour and unerring historical judgment, the power of the ideas and the forces that have shaped what we now think of as the Arab world. In doing so, McHugo has provided a way of understanding this complex and ongoing story that will enlighten all who read it.' Charles Tripp, author of The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East 'This is a concise historical survey of Arab history from the early Islamic period to our day, including Western-Arab and Western-Muslim encounters ... A well-written, original and stimulating introduction to the Arab world.' Gilbert Achcar, author of The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives 'This concise, brilliant and erudite book is the product of wide reading, hard thinking and years of direct experience of the Middle East. The author, an international lawyer and Arabist, has managed to throw fresh light on 1,400 years of Arab history from the Prophet Muhammad to the Arab Spring. There are lively and informative insights on almost every page.' Patrick Seale, author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East 'Vivid and engaging … invaluable for those seeking to understand the depth and complexity of the contemporary issues in the Arab world' Joy Gordon, author of Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions 'Even those who are familiar with the story of the Arabs will find this new history thrilling and poignant, woven with a layered texture of knowledge and empathy that deftly stitches familiar figures into the narrative in a fresh way. It is no small feat to compress the fourteen centuries from the dawn of Islam to the new Arab Awakening into such an effortless read.' David Gardner, International Affairs Editor, Financial Times, and author of Last Chance: the Middle East in the Balance
Squeezing the history of a people into one volume is an ambitious undertaking with the end result bound to leave out more than it includes, the details needed to understand a time and place elided. McHugo, an international lawyer and Arabist, proves as much with this unfocused volume. It's very much history of the old school, a linear narrative detailing a "concatenation of historical events," which, while cogent and serviceable, fails to capture the essence of societal transformation and intellectual ferment. McHugo promises that "this is not a history of Islam" but begins with the birth of Muhammad, ignoring the much-older origins of Arab identity. The Maghreb and al-Andalus are mostly absent, as is the Arabian Peninsula itself a thumbnail sketch of Saudi Arabia appears only as an awkward appendage to a chapter ostensibly about Egypt and the two political entities discussed at greatest length are Israel and the Ottoman Empire. The last chapter, covering the recent uprisings and modern theories regarding the role of religion in governance, is more successful, but little sets it apart from better, more in-depth analyses of the same topics elsewhere. Maps.