Understanding the Middle East: History, Religion, and the Clash of Cultures

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9780974833064: Understanding the Middle East: History, Religion, and the Clash of Cultures

A chronological look at major conflicts and events in the history of the Middle East, from ancient through modern times. Understanding the Middle East is for the non-specialist reader who would like to better understand the historical events that are currently shaping the news.Special topics include the Crusades (and their lasting impact), the Iranian Islamic Revolution, and Saudi Arabia's emergence as a petro-state and global sponsor of Wahhabi Islam. The rise of Islamic terrorism is also covered extensively.Written in the wake of 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom, this volume focuses on topics and conflicts that would be of greatest interest to outside observers of this tumultuous and important region.Q&A with author Edward Trimnell:........Q: What was your goal in writing Understanding the Middle East? A: Because of recent events, Americans are interested in knowing more about the Middle East, a subject which is not covered thoroughly in most survey history courses, at either the secondary or the college level. I wanted to give readers a "one-stop shopping" sort of book that would allow them to understand the long and complicated history of the region. The flow of this book is roughly chronological, but each chapter describes a major area of conflict, such as the Crusades, events in Saudi Arabia, or the Israel-Palestinian troubles.Q: Would you say that this book has a strong pro-Western or pro-American bias?A: This isn't an advocacy book of any kind. That having been said, the book is admittedly written from a Western perspective. And I have covered the areas that would be of greatest interest to American or Western readers. Q: What was the greatest challenge you encountered while writing Understanding the Middle East?  A: Without a doubt, the most difficult aspect of writing a book about the Middle East is the complexity involved. Numerous forces have shaped the modern Middle East: From Byzantium and Islam, to oil politics and the Cold War. As I wrote this book, my chief task was to present the details of this complex history in context: I wanted readers to grasp how the sundry conflicts described in this book are interrelated and relevant to current events.

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From the Publisher:

This book takes a conflict-based approach to the Middle East. While explaining the historical details behind the region's multiple conflicts, the author does not pull any punches for the sake of political correctness. In about 400 pages, the reader can explore: the intrigues and power struggles of the ancient Middle East, the birth and rise of Islam, the politically incorrect truths about the Crusades, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the birth of al-Qaeda and the planning of 9/11, the depredations of the Ottoman Empire, and the threats that militant Islam presents to civil liberties in a multicultural Western Europe.

From the Back Cover:

Explore the history of conflict in the Middle East, from ancient times to today's headlines. Take a balanced but unflinching look at: 

  • The warring civilizations of the ancient Middle East
  • The early expansion of Islam
  • What most textbooks don't tell you about the Crusades
  • Wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Why religion and politics are intertwined in the Middle East
  • How Iran became an Islamic Republic
  • Iraq from ancient times to the post-Saddam era
  • Osama bin Laden's journey from being a wealthy but disaffected Saudi youth, to becoming the world's most wanted terrorist
  • Islamist terror beyond the Middle East...and much, much more

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Trimnell, Edward P.
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