Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

Good books about Israel / Middle Eastern history?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 ID2006

ID2006

    "Klaymen, up here!"

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:47 PM

It occurred to me recently that I still don't know a whole lot about general Israel or Middle Eastern history.  I know some of the regulars here (if they're still around) are pretty knowledgeable on the subject; do any of you have some recommendations on good books for this?

 

Ancient history is fine, but I'm also interested in the past few hundred years and the 20th century especially.  I feel like it's difficult to find good history books because reviews by most people often seem colored by their political leanings. I really just want stuff that's factual. Academic commentary on the side would be fine, I suppose, if it isn't religious toned.



#2 detectiveconan16

detectiveconan16

    Look at that deal. It's so great!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:01 PM

I think 20th Century History on Israel and the Middle East will probably affect your political ideas, especially since we're still dealing with the same conflicts as we did 60, 70 years ago, and worse.

 

That being said, Middle Eastern History from way before Western Colonization is quite interesting, considering the many contributions the peoples of the region have given to the world, from calculus, banking, engineering and so much more.

 

Everyone I know who reads about World History started with Orientalism by Edward Said, and went on from there. There's even an Amazon listing to help you get started, so hit up your local library.


Batsugunner.png


#3 dohdough

dohdough

    Sum Dum Guy

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:25 PM

I could probably recommend some textbooks I have lying around that were really good with the ancient history of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but I don't have any syllabi from back then to supplement them. berzirk would probably know all the good ones.
dohdough.png


"Speaking of which, there's another elitist prick that argues constantly on the Politics forums by the name of dohdough. He's a complete douche, but at least he keeps his posts in that cesspool of useless opinions. He gets my runner-up nomination."


Thanks for the nomination for the Most Memorable CAG Villan 2012, Blade!

#4 joeboosauce

joeboosauce

    Snarf! Get in the...

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 08 January 2014 - 04:01 PM

I second Orientalism because it provides you the proper context within what much mainstream history of the Middle East was written in.


Posted Image

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." - George Orwell

#5 Spokker

Spokker

    CAGiversary!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:43 PM

http://www.washingto...rrifying-chart/

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!

Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

KN Al-Sabah,
London EC4, U.K.



#6 Finger_Shocker

Finger_Shocker

    CAG Veteran

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 09 January 2014 - 06:12 AM

Humans aren't meant to exist peacefully...

 

We will always find something to argue create violence over

 

Friends one day enemies the next

 

Peace time = its time to re-populate before we go back to fighting



#7 Finger_Shocker

Finger_Shocker

    CAG Veteran

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 09 January 2014 - 06:13 AM

 

 

Didn't take long for a Obama hater/basher and "racist" to come and troll the thread....



#8 berzirk

berzirk

    I'm not so serious

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:29 PM

I could probably recommend some textbooks I have lying around that were really good with the ancient history of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but I don't have any syllabi from back then to supplement them. berzirk would probably know all the good ones.

My man! Haven't checked this corner of the forums in awhile, glad I did.

 

Avi Shlaim-The Iron Wall is a must read IMO. An ethnic Jew, born in Iraq, served in the IDF-world class historian.

-Actually, you know what, I've read all of these and really think they're great:

  • Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine (winner of the 1988 Political Studies Association's W. J. M. Mackenzie Prize)
  • The Politics of Partition (1990 and 1998)
  • War and Peace in the Middle East: A Concise History (1995)

Currently reading through the Lion of Jordan by Shlaim, but unless you're REALLY interested in Jordanian history, probably a bit of a snoozer. I'm still enjoying it though.

 

Munther Haddadin- Diplomacy on the Jordan: International Conflict and Negotiated Resolution

-I studied under Dr. Haddadin for a term.  Haddadin was the former Water Minister in Jordan. Incredible insight into the behind the scenes negotiations of the Jordanian/Israeli peace process. An Orthodox Christian Arab, who shook up his own countrymen when he found their actions to be bigoted and misguided. One of the 3 smartest people I've ever come in to contact with in my life. His memory is freakish. First time I talked with him he started going on about some event on a particular day in 1960-whatever, and I'm rolling my eyes thinking the guy is full of shit. At the end of his talk I ask him what day it was again, he repeats the same, then tells me the event started at about 1pm. I look it up because I figured nobody has a memory like that...he was right. Has memorized boooooks of poetry, religious scriptures, learns conversational languages from listening to a tape over the course of a day. He's a freak.  (Fun sidenote-I'm thanked by name in the acknowledgments section of his book!)

 

Aaron T Wolf -A Purity of Arms. Maybe more interesting to me, because the guy has grown from esteemed professor, to good friend, but it recounts his days as an American who joined the Israeli Defense Force right before the first Palestinian Intifada (uprising). The 2nd of the 3 smartest people I've ever met in my life. Human perspective on his duty there, and some of the desirable and undesirable things he witnessed and had to act on. Worked with him on a fascinating project funded by the UN and a host of other organizations, which looked at shared water resources and whether cooperation or conflict occurred over them. Overwhelmingly, enemies would come together on water, rather than fight about it. Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database (TFDD if anyone really has a hardon for published research on the topic)

 

Jimmy Carter - Peace Not Apartheid. So this one is well documented by critics as being fiercely anti-Semitic and unfair to the Israelis. Proponents consider it as the most public statement on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in many years. To me, there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about it (remembering that the Arabs are also semitic people) but it definitely is highly critical of Israeli domestic and foreign policy. Personally I agree with much of it, but I do think it gives a free pass to some of the stupid and dangerous actions that Palestinians have taken over the years.

 

Huge text dump, but in summary, I would suggest starting with Shlaim, seeing if he does it for you, and if not move on to Carter. It's much lighter reading. Then go Wolf, for maybe some more balanced perspective. Shlaim is a must-read.



#9 Spokker

Spokker

    CAGiversary!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 10 January 2014 - 01:45 AM

Didn't take long for a Obama hater/basher and "racist" to come and troll the thread....

I'm not opposed to being called a racist, but I'm not sure how that post was racist. The article clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to figure out what is going on in the Middle East.

#10 mrsilkunderwear

mrsilkunderwear

    Just Do It.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:13 AM

I'm not opposed to being called a racist, but I'm not sure how that post was racist. The article clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to figure out what is going on in the Middle East.

Why do you hate Arabs?



#11 CaptainJoel

CaptainJoel

    Captain fuckin' Marvel

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 15 January 2014 - 11:13 PM

Why do you hate Arabs?

You're getting Arabs mixed up with black people.



#12 Sarang01

Sarang01

    My Use Name Is Saber

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 26 February 2014 - 05:13 PM

How about reading "Goliath" by Max Blumenthal?


Posted Image

"Friends let friends eat each other out.".

#13 mrsilkunderwear

mrsilkunderwear

    Just Do It.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 26 February 2014 - 09:42 PM

You're getting Arabs mixed up with black people.

A bit late, also /sarcasm.