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The Modern Middle East: A History

por James L. Gelvin

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Newly revised and updated for the second decade of the twenty-first century, the third edition of The Modern Middle East: A History explores how the forces associated with global modernity have shaped the social, economic, cultural, and political life in the region over the course of the past500 years. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, this book examines the impact of imperial and imperialist legacies, the great nineteenth-century transformation, cultural continuities and upheavals, internationaldiplomacy, economic booms and busts, the emergence of authoritarian regimes, and the current challenges to those regimes on everyday life in an area of vital concern to us all.Engagingly written, drawing from the author's own research and other studies, and stocked with maps and photographs, original documents, and an abundance of supplementary materials, The Modern Middle East: A History, Third Edition, will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights intothe events that have shaped history and the debates about them that have absorbed historians.… (mais)
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This is a brisk and pretty informative introductory survey of the history of the Middle East, in which Gelvin attempts to explain contemporary events in the region by looking at how two key forces of modernity have shaped it. The first is global capitalism; the second, the system of nation-states. It's probably unfair to criticise him for simplifying certain things, or omitting particular events, when trying to write a book of this scope on this scale. Some things just have to be left out. However, I did think he could have spent a little more time, if not expanding on certain areas, then on thinking some of his ideas through a little more. For instance, Gelvin does discuss the problematic nature of the term "modernity" and why he thinks it's still useful, but I have to admit that as a historian of the pre-modern era, I really dislike the term and find it presentist, and nothing in Gelvin's argument really swayed me from that opinion. As a chronology, then, the book is useful, but I'm not sure that I entirely buy its narrative underpinnings.

The conclusion has acquired an unintended interest from the events which occurred surely as this third edition was heading into print—Gelvin, it seems, wouldn't have predicted the events of the Arab Spring any more than would have most other outside observers. No doubt there will be some interesting comparisons to be made between this version of the book and its successor. ( )
  siriaeve | Dec 31, 2012 |
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Newly revised and updated for the second decade of the twenty-first century, the third edition of The Modern Middle East: A History explores how the forces associated with global modernity have shaped the social, economic, cultural, and political life in the region over the course of the past500 years. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, this book examines the impact of imperial and imperialist legacies, the great nineteenth-century transformation, cultural continuities and upheavals, internationaldiplomacy, economic booms and busts, the emergence of authoritarian regimes, and the current challenges to those regimes on everyday life in an area of vital concern to us all.Engagingly written, drawing from the author's own research and other studies, and stocked with maps and photographs, original documents, and an abundance of supplementary materials, The Modern Middle East: A History, Third Edition, will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights intothe events that have shaped history and the debates about them that have absorbed historians.

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