A History of the Arab Peoples

  • by Albert Hourani
  • Narrated by Nadia May
  • 20 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Despite the turmoil of Arab nationalism and fundamentalism, Middle Eastern wars, and oil crises, the history of the Arab world has been little known and poorly understood in the West. One reason may be that, for more than half a century, there has been no up-to-date single volume work that chronicles the story of Arab civilization - until now. Albert Hourani, distinguished historian and interpreter, has written a masterwork, a panoramic view encompassing twelve centuries of Arab history and culture. He looks at all sides of this rich and venerable civilization: the beauty of the Alhambra and the great mosques, the importance attached to education, the achievements of Arab science - but also internal conflicts, wide-spread poverty, the role of women, and the contemporary Palestinian question.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Daunting quantity of information!

You will definitely get your money's worth with this one! There is a tremendous amount of information here - a complete history of a people and a world religion.

One reason this is a good buy it that it merits more than one listen. After getting through the book once, one cannot help but gain the ability to absorb more detail on a second read.

Some of the highlights: (1) The description of the life of Muhammad, (2) The explanation of the divergence of Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam, (3) The discussion of the Sufi branch of Islam (4) The rise and fall of the influence of the Islamic world over history, (5) The Ottoman empire, and (6) How the current nations of the Middle East came to be.

Although much longer, this book was light years better than "Islam: A Short Introduction".

The only downside to the book was trying to juggle all of the Middle Eastern names, which can be difficult. Although not a "downside" in the traditional sense, I did feel that the author may have shown some bias in describing some of the Arab/Israeli conflicts of the past century.

All in all - very highly recommended. Definitely something worthy of multiple listens.
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- Tim

A People's History, not a State's

First off let me say that going into this book I did not have a really good understanding of Arab or Muslim culture. Now that I'm done I feel like I got a really good basis with which to understand these cultures.

This book doesn't explain in-depth the rise and fall of specific governments and nations, but rather details and profiles the peoples that populated them. It dives into the religious and social development in the Muslim countries. At this point I feel like I need to read a lot more books on more specific histories.

My only real critique of this book is that it's hard to keep all of the terminology straight in my head (Thank goodness for Wikipedia). It was really easy to zone out to this audiobook. The way it was written made it hard to pick back up and figure out what had been going on.

Probably the biggest plus of this book is that it doesn't feel like it's written from a western perspective. I would highly recommend this book as a good dive-in immersion experience.
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- Greg

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-1999
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.