The ninth edition of this widely acclaimed text has been extensively revised to reflect the latest scholarship and the most recent events in the Middle East. As an introduction to the history of this turbulent region from the beginnings of Islam to the present day, the book is distinguished by its clear style, broad scope, and balanced treatment. It focuses on the evolution of Islamic institutions and culture, the influence of the West, the modernization efforts of Middle Eastern governments, the struggle for political independence, the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the roles of Iraq and Iran in the post-9/11 Middle East, and more.
Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr., is professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Modern Egypt: Foundation of a Nation-State and the recipient of the Amoco Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 2000 Middle East Studies Association Mentoring Award.
Lawrence Davidson is a professor of history at West Chester University. He is the author of several books, including America’s Palestine and Islamic Fundamentalism.
I found this work both interesting, well organised and much better suited to the audio format than other such works. The authors do a good job in separating fact, analysis and opinion. They are not afraid to give their own (diverging) views on the arab-israeli conflict, but emphasize that the listener should make up their own mind based on a solid knowledge of the history, which the book provideds the basis for. To anyone looking for a non biased history and not propaganda from the arabs or israelis this is a great start.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
This audiobook is a good listen. It gives more perspectives than other history books. The period detailing colonialism, nationalist struggle, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict are fairly depicted. Overall it is balanced and provides good overview of modern Middle East history.
25 of 29 people found this review helpful
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
I actually found this way too quick. After an engaging introduction about the founding of Islam I lost track as changing dynasties were rapidly listed without explanation. I realise there's a huge amount of history to cover but I personally found it very difficult to follow after a time. ...Maybe it's just me, as no-one else seems to have mentioned it, but I found the narration VERY fast. I also found that the main focus on Islam, as others have mentioned, didn't give me a complete picture of the entire region.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Maybe because I set my expectation too low due to some of the above reviews, which I now find extremely unfair, I really enjoyed this audiobook.
Just a little over three days after I downloaded it, today I understand substancially better the never ending conflicts in the Middle East.
I won't remember the dates and names, except those I am already familiar with and learnt even more about, I now get the big geopolitical picture.
Great source of knowledge.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
Very good overview of the region and part of its history (mainly since the time of Muhammad). As I approached the modern time and the Arab-Israeli conflict (which makes up a big part of the second half), I noticed a lot of inaccuracies, things that were omitted and things that are misrepresented (like taking a most extreme event and preceding it with "for example"). I think the authors wishful thinking got mixed too much with the attempt to describe reality as they approached modern times. Still, it is worth reading, never as the only book on the subject, and with a critical approach.
14 of 18 people found this review helpful
The Middle East has been in turmoil for all my life; this audio book documents how this strife goes back a great deal longer. While our politicians have sometimes used self-interest and expediency to justify meddling in the area, we are now reaping the whirlwind. For me this audio book gives much needed historic background, corrects some of my assumptions and, I hope, gives me some insights into why the area is such a recurring flash point and worry to the world and why the peoples of the region seem destined to such constant misery.
A drawback of this audio book is that while the reader mentions maps and tables and other items as he reads from the print text, these are not available to an Audible listener. I listen on an ipod-- perhaps a series of "authors' bookmarks" and an interactive index might complete the experience.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
I went to audible and got this book because we seem to bashed with European and US history but have very little exposure to anything else. Given that the middle east is the cradle of modern civilization, the topic of the book seemed a perfect place to start; I had listened previously from audible the really great books "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," "Charlemagne," "Postwar" and "No Simple War," all books that are strongly recommend for those like me who want an entertaining yet detailed account of historical events.
Gosh, was I for a disappointment for this one. What the authors call "history" is an accumulation of names and labels with almost no context about the social environment where things happen. It's very difficult to relate to anything when things are exposed in a dry sequence of historical terminology without any broader analysis that can fit things together. I do understand the role of religion, but does a proper history book needs to offer extensive quotes to religious texts; shouldn't we expect the authors to summarize these quotes and draw the conclusions from observed historical behavior. And, not that religion is unimportant for the history of the region, but shouldn't the rise of religion be explained as part of the social environment rather than an exogenous fact?
But perhaps what I miss the most is the lack of un-historical things we find in the best history books, the historical anecdotes that give new light to the dry historical facts and which, I suppose, would require a lot more research. Combine encyclopedia-style exposition with some religious quotes and this is what you should expect there.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Removed the politics from the section starting in 1945 and make it a history book vs. the political statement they are trying to make.
Would you ever listen to anything by Arthur Goldschmidt and Lawrence Davidson again?
After listening, I couldn't figure out why it changed. I researched the authors and found Goldschmidt to be the historian and Daivdson to be some type of radical political type. Why would Goldschmidt let Davidson obviously takeover everything after 1945 and turn it into a weird personal political statement .
What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?
Good, easy to listen to , Didn't attempt to dramatize the book (which is a good thing)
What character would you cut from A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition?
After research. It seems to be Davidson
Any additional comments?
The title and career of Goldschmidt deserves better than to allow real work be skewed by a radical political agenda. Too bad.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
Covering the spectrum of Arabic History, the book did an adequeate job in limit space for the first 3/4 of the book. The addition of political analysis towards the end was an obvious attempt to promote a political agenda. The book played fast was facts and literary license glossing over many contributing factors in the U.S.'s Mid-East policy promoting such a pro-arab line it departed from norms of history writing right into a political science agenda. Discard the last 1.5 hours and you have a descent history of the middle east for dummies reference.
23 of 34 people found this review helpful
the book gives a clear , chronological and clear historical backgrounds on how the middle east has been formed and built.
t also gives a view on how the ordinary person living in the middle east has been affected by the historical changes happening around them.
8 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you want to learn about the roots and developments of the current political situation in the Middle East, from Iran to Egypt, this is where you can find out. It is an up-to-date, authoritative textbook for a foundation course, read out completely verbatim. This is not an audiobook to attempt to whizz through non-stop; I listened to several sections more than once in order to absorb the information, but I was keen to do so because I learned so much from the book. Its structure facilitates understanding, with clear sectional headings and summaries of each chapter. Probably the most informative sections are those on the birth and earliest years of Islam, and those on the late 19th and early 20th century.
It may well be worthwhile complementing the audiobook with reference to online information, eg from Wikipedia, as the lack of maps or other visual aids is a bit of a drawback. However, I would never have found the time to read all through the text versions of the book, whereas taking it steadily on my iPod I have been totally committed and absorbed in my listening. I have finished it now but fully intend to go back again to several sections. I fully recommend this.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition? What did you like least?
I think the material might good but the narration was so flat and boring I had to keep replaying sections as I couldn't pay attention. It seems to a popular style across the historical / political genre particularly with American narrators which is such a shame.
I've given the story and overall ratings as 3 stars to give it the benefit of the doubt and would recommend trying this as a book instead of audiobook.
I listened to this book at night as it genuinely sent me to sleep.
Would you recommend A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition to your friends? Why or why not?
Nope. Friends who had heard it playing in the background commented on how boring the narrator sounded.
Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Tom Weiner?
Anna Massey would have been superb. Mark Elstob or Maggie Mash would also have been good.
They all give performances with enough emotional inflection to bring the subject to life but not so much that they become distracting or overly dramatic.
Was A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition worth the listening time?
Any additional comments?
I wish I'd listened to this quickly enough after purchasing to get a refund. Waste of time and money for me.
It did teach a lesson which is to listen to the whole of the audio sample audible provide. I tend to just listen to a minute at most to ensure I don't find the narrator annoying or distracting. If I'd listened longer I would have realised how boring it was and not bought it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Where does A Concise History of the Middle East, Ninth Edition rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This has to be one of the most important written history of the Middle East books ever written. Simply outstanding in its content and analysis.
The authors have succeeded in turning one of the world's most extraordinary historical stories into a morbidly tedious, arid experience. The lacklustre, lumpen, sub-Wikipedia-style writing isn't helped at all by the narration, which could have come straight out of a 1950s public service announcement about plumbing. It's all horribly old fashioned, and not in a good way. Deeply disappointing.
In comparison with lapidus, this is brief but to the point. considering the scope of the period it covers, it is an absolute blessing... Islamic history for dummies :-) ❤ thank you!
A very important book in current context and something that everyone owes it to themselves and to our times to educate themselves about.
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I was about to give up listening to it in the beginning as the start was bias and not researched , but I continued to listen as I was traveling and found that past the first chapter It was over all a good listen . Generally going over a very complex long history he did a fairly good job .
Did Tom Weiner do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?
It was a bit monotonous at times but over all ok.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Yes if the author improve the first chapter of his book
Any additional comments?
I wished the author would have laboured a bit more on his research on the early life of Islam and the important people of that age . As what happened soon after the death of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and the events that shaped Islam in its present form were all imbedded in the history of the first 75 years which he skimmed .
Middle East history is slightly different from different side as any other history, but in this book writer gives lecturers opinions which usually right. Great in detail loved it