Three Historical Middle Eastern Biographies
There are several excellent books about the Middle East, but which one is the best? Here are three that I highly recommend. Bernard Lewis is an acclaimed historian, who charts the region's history over the past two thousand years, up to the present. His analysis of the region's culture, government, and arts is both comprehensive and interesting. The book's middle section focuses on the important subjects, while his modern history section is more enjoyable and entertaining. Whether you're an expert or just curious, this book will give you an in-depth look at the history of the region.
Arab armies swept through most of the Middle East
The Arab conquests have reshaped the map of the Middle East. The prophet Muhammed, a merchant from Mecca, converted most of the Arab tribes to Islam, and the Muslim faith spread to Central Asia, western India, and France. Although most Arab states still maintain monarchies, Islam has a far different sociopolitical role in Arab societies than in most other countries. Although the Middle East has been reshaped by the Arab conquests, there are still plenty of areas in the Middle East where it is difficult to live.
Lawrence had been in Aqaba only a few months before the war broke out. Lawrence knew that the region was strategically significant to the Turks, British, and French. If they could bottle up the Arab allies in Aqaba and keep them in Saudi Arabia, they could restrain the Arab revolt in Arabia. However, if the Arabs invaded, the European imperial powers would have a chance to renege on the Sykes-Picot treaty.
This break in the social contract led to shifting alliances throughout the MENA region. As local and regional nonstate actors found support from international actors, a rift between the ruling elite and the common people deepened. It also encouraged disenfranchised local communities to speak out in opposition to the exclusionary status quo. This in turn led to civil wars. And if the Arab armies swept through most of the Middle East, what will happen in Syria?
Today's Arab upheaval is similar to the process of change in Central and Eastern Europe during 1989. In both cases, the Arab upheaval broke out suddenly, unpredicted by many experts. The Arab upheaval may lead to similar cross-country contagion. With more people demanding a democratic future, Europe will have to respond. It is time to make our own contribution to this process.
Christian Western Europe's economic and demographic recovery in the Middle East
The Paris Accord, signed by 12 nations of the European Community (EC) in December 1993, is the product of compromise and strong political will. It signals the future role of Christian Western Europe in the region's economic and demographic recovery. It is also a sign of the unity of the EC, as the major West European nations will speak with one voice in the future. But the Middle East is more than just an economic recovery, and it also has a significant demographic and political contribution.
The Crusades began in 1095 after Pope Urban II called for them. He wanted to secure Christian rule in the Middle East from Muslim invasions. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks began to threaten the city. Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comenus appealed to the West to help, and the Pope publicly called for a crusade. The Crusades had many unintended consequences. Though the Crusades had a positive effect on Christianity, they did not lead to the recovery of the region for Christianity. In 1453, Muslims took Constantinople.
Hala Alyan's family sought political asylum in the United States
Alyan was born in Carbondale, Illinois and grew up in Kuwait. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, her family fled to the United States, where they sought political asylum. Hala Alyan studied at Rutgers University and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology. She currently works at New York University's Counseling and Wellness Center. Her novel, Salt Houses, explores the traumatic experiences of displaced families.
The novel spans the period from the forced removal of Palestinians to the fallout of the September 11 attacks. Alyan demonstrates a mastery of her craft, delving into the inner workings of family life without ever becoming heavy-handed or preachy. Rather, she delivers the message with a light touch. In this book, Alyan gives readers a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people who struggle to survive in a foreign country.
The story is fueled by the question of whether or not to adhere to a tradition and what it means to live in a foreign country. Alyan avoids the common trap of exaggerating tired tropes by focusing on the details of the cities and characters. Alyan uses the language of the people and the subtlety of place to immerse the reader in unspoken taboos, without self-Orientalizing the narrative.
The story revolves around a Palestinian woman and her family who are displaced in the United States after the founding of Israel and the wars that followed. Hala Alyan is a poet and a psychologist and her novel Salt Houses focuses on these stories and the resulting experiences of displaced families. The author describes a Palestinian family's struggle for freedom and their eventual integration.
Naomi Shihab Nye's family lived in a gilded cage
For much of her childhood, Naomi Shihab Nye's parents and grandparents had been enslaved in Palestine. When she was six, her mother read to her constantly and she began to write poems. Her first works were quite childish and often about simple, everyday things. At age fourteen, she visited her Palestinian grandmother, where she witnessed the destruction of family olive trees.
Although her father was a Palestinian refugee, her mother was an American who was of German and Swiss descent. When tensions increased in 1967, her family moved from Jerusalem to San Antonio. She went on to earn her BA at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She was also the poetry editor of the New York Times Magazine in 2019-2020. She is Chancellor Emerita of the Academy of American Poets, and was the recipient of the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award.
In 1992, Naomi Shihab Nye started writing for children. She published the acclaimed children's book Sitti's Secret, which was illustrated by Nancy Carpenter and tells the story of a Palestinian girl's relationship with her American grandmother. The book won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and she has also published two novels for young adults, Habibi and The Girl Who Came to Stay.
Marilyn Nye is the Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2015. She received the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters in 2018. She is also the Young People's Poet Laureate of the Poetry Foundation. Although she may not be the most famous poet, her work has been widely acclaimed and has earned many awards.
Hisham Matar's father was kidnapped
Hisham Matar's father was kiddapped from Egypt in the early 1990s and is now a political prisoner in Libya. While the details of the kidnapping remain unclear, the memoir is a powerful and moving account of the search for his father. The book is an excellent read, as it is both timeless and relevant today. If you're a war veteran or a recent refugee, this book is for you.
The author Hisham Matar has written a compelling memoir that chronicles his search for his father after Libyan revolutionaries overthrew Muammar Qaddafi. Throughout the memoir, Hisham Matar reflects on his childhood, including the debate over moving away from Libya and interviews with his family back home. The author also includes details about the son of Qaddafi, a political dissident who'd been in hiding.
After the revolution, Matar returned to his homeland. He had not seen it since his father was abducted in March 1990. The ruins of the old regime and the fear that he might never find his father were enough to spur Matar on to work in the country's ruins. It was not easy for him to confront his fear of finding his father. Eventually, he re-visited his father in Libya and found out the truth.
Hisham Matar, a British-Libyan author, has won the Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography. His father was a political opponent in Libya, but he never knew he was there. After Qaddafi was overthrown, Matar went back to his homeland to find him. He spent years hoping that his father was still alive. Eventually, he found him after years of searching for him.