Cradle & Crucible: History and Faith in the Middle East

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9780792265979: Cradle & Crucible: History and Faith in the Middle East
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Through photographs, maps, and the writings of highly respected authors such as David Fromkin, Zahi Hawass, Sandra Mackey, and Milton Viorst, Cradle & Crucible details the historical, political, cultural, and religious forces that have shaped the region and unravels for readers the enigma that is the Middle East. Beginning with the prehistoric civilizations of the fertile crescent and continuing through the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, the first section of the book distills the Middle East's sweeping, often turbulent history. From the Hittites to Alexander the Great, from the Romans to the Crusaders, from the Ottomans to the Imperialists, the Middle East's rich tapestry of influences and identities is described with new critical insights. The book's second section is devoted to the Middle East's three great faiths, examining in depth the impact of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian beliefs on history and daily life in the Middle East. Filled with photographs and maps that contribute to a visual understanding of the subject, Cradle & Crucible is a timely guide to this complex, enormously important area of the world.

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It is commonplace to remark with wonder on the reasons for the continued violent unrest in the Middle East. The contributors to this tremendously helpful survey of the history of the region provide illumination in short, focused essays on topics ranging from the Ottoman Empire and the Crusades to the evolution of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Egypt's director of pyramids, Zahi Hawass, explores the rise and fall of early Mediterranean civilizations like Egypt and Babylonia as they conquered and divided the land now so hotly contested. Andrew Wheatcroft examines Greek influences on the peoples of the Middle East, the rise of Christianity in the area and the evolution of Islam. David Fromkin of Boston University discusses the coming of British colonialism into the Middle East in the early 20th century, and journalist Sandra Mackey explores the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967. In the book's second section, Yossi Klein Halevi, Charles Sennott and Milton Viorst offer admirably evenhanded introductions to many facets of the Middle East's three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, each of which teaches that Jerusalem functions as a central and sacred place. All of these essays provide balanced historical research and lively narrative to remind us how long these religious and political parties have coexisted in the land over which they each seek control. Timely and useful, with 40 photographs and maps, this helps make sense of the ongoing strife in the Middle East.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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