From secular-minded autocrats like Saddam Hussein to religious fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden, powerful voices in the Islamic world have been united by a fierce hatred of the West. If we want to know why they think the way they do, we have to understand the history of Islam and its continuous interactions with the West. This masterly collection of essays by a leading expert on Islam and the Middle East ranges over the whole sweep of Islamic history and Western attempts to comprehend it.
He did, however, devote some attention to India and Southeast Asia, and
sketched the theory of the Asiatic mode of production, which was subsequently
developed by others. Not surprisingly, given the inadequate and inaccurate
information available to them, the contribution of the sociological founding fathers
to ... One case is of special interest—that of Karl Marx. Marxist analysis of Islam
has been, broadly, of three types. One of these is the doctrine of the Asiatic mode
`Whoever lives in our country, speaks our language, is brought up in our culture and takes pride in our glory is one of us.' Thus ran a declaration of modern leaders of Arab states. But what exactly is an Arab, and what has been their place in the course of human history? In this well-established classic, Professor Lewis examines the key issues of Arab development - their identity, the national revival which cemented the creation of the Islamic state, and the social and economic pressures that destroyed the Arab kingdom and created the Islamic empire. He analyses the forces which contributed to that empire's eventual decline, and the effects of growing Western influence. Today, with the Arab world facing profound social and political challenges, it constitutes an essential introduction to the Arabs and their history.
W HAT is an Arab? Ethnic terms are notoriously difficult to define, and Arab is not
among the easiest. One possible definitionmaybeset aside at once. The Arabs
may be a nation; they are not a nationality in the legal sense. One who calls ...