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Reviews of The Arabs: A Short History

“This brief history of the Arabs from the pre-Islamic era to the present provides readers with an outstanding, easily comprehensible overview of a world that has been subject to many half-truths and prejudices. Halm’s expertise extends to both political and social developments and the cultural sphere.”

Tagesanzeiger, Zurich

“This book accomplishes the considerable feat of providing a lucid and compact depiction of the long history of the Arabs from the 9th century BCE to the explosive present of the Palestinian and Iraqi conflicts. There is also a wealth of interesting material on the social and cultural history, for instance on Muslim-Christian relations and on the influence of Arab-Islamic scholarship on the West.”

Börsenblatt, Frankfurt (Germany’s Publishers Weekly)

“While short in length, this book is wide in scope and range, both historically and geographically, covering the Arab peoples (that is, the more than 280 million people in North Africa and the Middle East who speak Arabic) from their pre-Islamic origins and the first recorded use of the term “Arab” to today’s troubles in Iraq. In fewer than 200 pages, Halm (Islamic Studies, University of Tübingen, Germany, “Shi’a Islam: From Religion to Revolution”) does a marvelous job of condensing over 1000 years of history into seven chapters arranged chronologically, with subchapters arranged geographically, which makes the material easy to follow. Halm includes information on the many different cultures and governments, the Prophet Muhammad and his successors, Islamic dynasties, countries and rulers, interaction with the West and colonialism, literature and languages, modern nationalism and various wars, Israel, and the Sunni and Shi’a. Written for a general audience, it is recommended for all public and undergraduate libraries.”

Library Journal

“Reading this demythologizing report makes a great many things come into focus. The book is outstanding.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

“Halm (U. of Tübingen, Germany) offers Westerners a concise history of the Arabs, from the pre-Islamic era to the present, highlighting the changes in culture, economy, and religion over the last 2,000 years. The English translation, by Allison Brown and Tom Lampert, makes the original German publication (2004, Verlag C. H. Beck, Muenchen) accessible to a wider audience; translation of the work was supported by the Goethe-Institut. The text also includes a thematically-organized bibliography for further reading, and notes on Arabic pronunciation. Contains an index of names only; no subject index. Academic but accessible to the general reader.”

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