In this masterly work of synthesis, Peter Mansfield, drawing on his experience as a journalist and a historian, explores two centuries of history in the Middle East. He forms a picture of the historical, political, and social history of the meeting point of Occident and Orient, from Bonaparte's marauding invasion of Egypt to the start of the Gulf War. For more than four thousand years, the Middle East has provided a setting for titanic struggles between great civilizations and religions. In this century it became the focus of rivalry between the European powers as the last major Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks crumbled and collapsed. The discovery of the world's greatest oil reserves gave the region global economic importance as well as a unique strategic value. The foundation of a national state by immigrant Zionist Jews created one of the most insoluble political problems of our era, which is compounded by the reassertion of Islamic consciousness among the great majority of the region's inhabitants. In two penetrating final chapters, Peter Mansfield discusses Saddam Hussein and the prospects for the future.
©1991 by Peter Mansfield; (P)1991 by Blackstone Audiobooks
other reviewers seem unimpressed but i thought it was a fine book, covering the whole sweep of the history of the area. it seemed well balanced (at least, moreso than most histories of the area - face it, everyone who writes about the middle east has their axe to grind, but this bloke seemed at least to be trying!) and very informative. well worth the effort!
(I am not finished with the book, I'm still in the 1980's)
The sound quality isn't high but I had no trouble understanding it. I had zero problems with the narrator's accent, he speaks well and clearly. The important part - the information - is great stuff. I know a lot more about the M.E. now than I did before, and that was my goal. It doesn't seem excessively biased to me at all. The western world, and later the Israelis, have been a domineering, bullying force in the M.E. for centuries. No surprise there, right? Mansfield doesn't paint western powers as the bad guys, just as the guys with the big stick. How is that inaccurate?
The narrator's accent took a few minutes to get used to, and the sound quality was merely adequate, but the content was excellent, and for me, quite enlightening. While covering the whole sweep of history, this book focuses on the last 200 years, giving a crystal clear perspective on how the breakup of the Ottoman Empire resulted in the particular nations that constitute the Middle East.
The stories are well told, I was entertained and informed, what more can I ask?
Very detailed; however, if you are not already familiar with the events, you will have a very hard time keeping up and, as already pointed out, it will sound like someone reading their personal family tree in a fast, dry voice.
This is a solid, straight, history of the Middle East that is well worth reading for a general background on the region. I would recommend it for those of an intellectual bent who are not put off by reading textbooks and the like in exchange for a more scholarly treatment than you'll generally get from the best-seller lists. Would have gotten 5 stars if it were more of a classic and a Great Read like Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
It took me forever to listen to this book. First, the British accent of the reader made it very difficult to understand many things that were being read. It was the worst voice I have ever heard on the recorded books. Secondly, this was written like a textbook, with numerous dates, places, names, etc. that were just about impossible to follow in recorded form, much less in written form.
I wanted to learn more about Islam, but this book is certainly not a first choice as it is far too complex and difficult to comprehend.
Based on the sample, I fail to detect no problem with the accent what so ever. I look forward to hearing the full book.
If you just want to learn something about Islam, try The Crisis Of Islam by Bernard Lewis. This was excellent.
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