Cover image for From Babel to dragomans : interpreting the Middle East
From Babel to dragomans : interpreting the Middle East
Lewis, Bernard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 438 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Collection of articles, essays, etc. originally published 1953-2003.
An Islamic mosque -- From Babel to Dragomans -- Middle East feasts -- Iran in history -- Palimpsests of Jewish history : Christian, Muslim, and secular diaspora -- Some notes on land, money, and power in medieval Islam -- An interpretation of Fatimid history -- Propaganda in the pre-modern Middle East : a preliminary classification -- Monarchy in the Middle East -- Religion and murder in the Middle East -- The Mughals and the Ottomans -- Europe and the Turks : the civilization of the Ottoman Empire -- Europe and Islam : Muslim perceptions and experience -- Cold war and détente in the sixteenth century --From pilgrims to tourists : a survey of Middle Eastern travel -- The British mandate for Palestine in historical perspective -- Pan-Arabism -- The emergence of modern Israel -- Orientalist notes on the Soviet-United Arab Republic treaty of 27 May 1971 -- A taxonomy of group hatred -- Islam and the West -- The Middle East, westernized despite itself -- The Middle East in world affairs -- Friends and enemies : reflections after a war -- Return to Cairo -- Middle East at prayer -- At the United Nations -- The anti-Zionist resolution -- Right and left in Lebanon -- The Shiʻa -- Islamic revolution -- The enemies of God -- The roots of Muslim rage -- The other Middle East problems -- Did you say "American imperialism"? : power, weakness, and choices in the Middle East -- The law of Islam --- Not everybody hates Saddam -- Mideast states : pawns no longer in imperial games -- What Saddam wrought -- The "sick man" of today coughs closer to home -- Revisiting the paradox of modern Turkey -- We must be clear -- Deconstructing Osama and his evil appeal -- Targeted by a history of hatred -- A time for toppling -- In defense of history -- First-person narrative in the Middle East -- Reflections on Islamic historiography -- The Ottoman archives : a source for European history -- History writing and national revival in Turkey -- On Occidentalism and orientalism.
Geographic Term:
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Material Type
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DS44 .L48 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
DS44 .L48 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun), and as "the doyen of MiddleEastern studies" (New York Times), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East. Now, this revered authority has brought together writings and lectures that he has written over four decades, featuring his reflections on Middle Eastern history and foreign affairs, the Iranian Revolution, the state of Israel, the writing of history, and much more. The essays cover such urgentand compelling topics as "What Saddam Wrought," "Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appeal," "The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itself," "The Enemies of God," and "Can Islam be Secularized?" The collection ranges from two English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, topreviously unpublished writings, to his highly regarded essays from publications such as Foreign Affairs and The New York Review of Books. With more than fifty pieces in all, plus a new introduction to the book by Lewis, this is a valuable collection for everyone interested in the Middle East. Here then is a rich repository of wisdom on one of the key areas of the modern world--a wealth of profound reflections on Middle Eastern history, culture, politics, and current events.

Author Notes

Bernard Lewis was born in London, England on May 31, 1916. He graduated with honors in history from the School of Oriental Studies at the University of London in 1936 with special reference to the Middle East. In 1938, he was named an assistant lecturer at the University of London, where he received a Ph.D. the next year. In 1940, he was drafted into the British armed forces and assigned to the Army tank corps. He was soon transferred to intelligence. He taught at the University of London for 25 years.

In 1974, he accepted joint appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and Princeton University. He also taught at Cornell from 1984 to 1990. He became an American citizen in 1982. He was a scholar of Middle Eastern history and a prolific writer. His books included The Emergence of Modern Turkey, What Went Wrong?: The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East, and From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East. Because he was considered an expert on interactions between the Christian and Islamic worlds, his view helped shape American foreign policy under President George W. Bush. He died on May 19, 2018 at the age of 101.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

For more than four decades, Lewis has been one of the most respected scholars and prolific writers on the history and politics of the Middle East. In this compilation of more than 50 journal articles and essays, he displays the full range of his eloquence, knowledge, and insight regarding this pivotal and volatile region. The collection is divided into three sections, dealing in turn with past history, contemporary affairs, and the evolution of Middle Eastern historiography. The breadth of the subject matter covered is immense; topics as diverse as Islamic architecture, the prevalence of Persian culture throughout the region, Ottoman-European relations, and the causes of jihadist terror are explored. Lewis has never shrunk from controversy, and many of his views presented here are widely disputed by other scholars both within and outside the Middle East; but Lewis remains essential reading. --Jay Freeman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

As this collection of writings and speeches from the last 40 years demonstrates once again, Lewis is probably the world's most erudite scholar of the Middle East. The pieces cover virtually all aspects of the region from medieval Turkish history to the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and everything in between. Food for thought abounds: In one essay, Lewis notes that Islam and Christianity had different relations to Judaism because while Christianity wanted to replace Judaism, Islam was more comfortable incorporating Judaism into its traditions. The pieces are divided into three sections: past history, present history and reflections on the historical profession as it relates to the Middle East. The essays are more scholarly than Lewis's bestselling What Went Wrong? for instance, one focuses on etymology and the origins of propaganda in early Arabic states. As a whole, they demonstrate Lewis's long-held contention that Islam has been unable to modernize and a clash of civilizations with the West was inevitable. Lewis is considered one of the intellectual architects of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, so it is of interest that in one essay, he asks what the West should do to help bring about change in the Middle East, and answers, "As little as possible." (Confused readers should note that the essay was written in 1957.) As a result of its scholarly bent, this book may attract a narrower audience than his other recent works, but they reflect the thinking of a profound mind. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Historian Lewis (Cleveland E. Dodge Emeritus Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton; What Went Wrong?) has been one of the most prolific modern writers on the Middle East and Islam. Throughout his long career, he has made many of the intricacies of Middle Eastern history and Islamic civilization accessible to a broad audience of informed readers and academics in the West. In this latest book, Lewis offers a panorama of more than 50 previously published writings spanning more than four decades of academic life. Chapters in this volume come from scholarly publications, lectures, popular publications, and newspaper columns. The smorgasbord of topics covered includes medieval Islamic history, European encounters with the people of the Middle East, Pan-Arabism, Islam and the West, Ottoman history, and the contemporary developments in the Middle East and Muslim-Western relations. A very useful collection for both academic and large public libraries, even those that own his other books.-Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Creditsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Past History
1 An Islamic Mosquep. 15
2 From Babel to Dragomansp. 18
3 Middle East Feastsp. 33
4 Iran in Historyp. 43
5 Palimpsests of Jewish History: Christian, Muslim and Secular Diasporap. 53
6 Some Notes on Land, Money and Power in Medieval Islamp. 60
7 An Interpretation of Fatimid Historyp. 66
8 Propaganda in the Pre-Modern Middle East: A Preliminary Classificationp. 79
9 Monarchy in the Middle Eastp. 92
10 Religion and Murder in the Middle Eastp. 100
11 The Mughals and the Ottomansp. 108
12 Europe and the Turks: The Civilization of the Ottoman Empirep. 115
13 Europe and Islam: Muslim Perceptions and Experiencep. 121
14 Cold War and Detente in the Sixteenth Centuryp. 135
15 From Pilgrims to Tourists: A Survey of Middle Eastern Travelp. 137
16 The British Mandate for Palestine in Historical Perspectivep. 152
17 Pan-Arabismp. 156
18 The Emergence of Modern Israelp. 181
19 Orientalist Notes on the Soviet-United Arab Republic Treaty of 27 May 1971p. 188
20 A Taxonomy of Group Hatredp. 196
21 Islam and the Westp. 205
Part 2 Current History
22 The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itselfp. 221
23 The Middle East in World Affairsp. 232
24 Friends and Enemies: Reflections After a Warp. 240
25 Return to Cairop. 247
26 Middle East at Prayerp. 265
27 At the United Nationsp. 269
28 The Anti-Zionist Resolutionp. 274
29 Right and Left in Lebanonp. 284
30 The Shi'ap. 290
31 Islamic Revolutionp. 299
32 The Enemies of Godp. 313
33 The Roots of Muslim Ragep. 319
34 The Other Middle East Problemsp. 332
35 Did You Say "American Imperialism"?: Power, Weakness, and Choices in the Middle Eastp. 343
36 The Law of Islamp. 351
37 Not Everybody Hates Saddamp. 354
38 Mideast States: Pawns No Longer in Imperial Gamesp. 357
39 What Saddam Wroughtp. 360
40 The "Sick Man" of Today Coughs Closer to Homep. 364
41 Revisiting the Paradox of Modern Turkeyp. 367
42 We Must Be Clearp. 369
43 Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appealp. 371
44 Targeted by a History of Hatredp. 374
45 A Time for Topplingp. 378
Part 3 About History
46 In Defense of Historyp. 383
47 First-Person Narrative in the Middle Eastp. 396
48 Reflections on Islamic Historiographyp. 405
49 The Ottoman Archives: A Source for European Historyp. 414