Skip to content

The Middle East For Dummies

(Part of the Dummies Series)

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

Save $15.10!
List Price $19.99
Almost Gone, Only 1 Left!

Book Overview

Demystifies the area's culture, politics, and religions Explore Middle Eastern history from ancient to modern times Looking to better understand the Middle East? This plain-English guide explains the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Makes sense of a complex region

The relevant history of the Middle East spans several thousand years. This book tries to cover that entire history in about 370 pages. This is a daunting task, but the author pulls this off reasonably well. This book is written in the standard Dummies format. If you have read any of the other the other books in the Dummies series, then you already know that the Dummies books usually contain humor mixed with the main subject matter. As this book was published in the context of the post-9/11 world and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, humor is a tall order. Once again, the author succeeds admirably. There are a few tongue-in-cheek remarks, but not too many. The coverage of the ancient Middle East is limited. This was probably necessary because of space limitations. Nevertheless, you will finish this book with at least a basic idea of who the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians, and the Sumerians (etc., etc.) were. Here the Middle East for Dummies provides a good foundation for further reading of a more in-depth text, like "Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization" ISBN 0226631877 by Oppenheim. (I highly recommend this book if you want to take a deep dive into the ancient Middle East.) The birth of Islam, the original Islamic conquests, and the Crusades are rolled into a chapter entitled "The Medieval Middle East." This chapter may disappoint some readers, not through any fault of the author, but because there is so much compressed into one chapter. The Crusades are a topic that most readers will probably want to read about in-depth, but they are covered in only two pages. (Consider Karen Armstrong's "Holy War" ISBN: 0385721404 for a detailed though somewhat politically correct account of the Crusades.) The book succeeds in giving a succinct portrait of each of the major countries in the modern Middle East, and the history that shaped each country since the early twentieth century. The chapters on the modern Middle East include descriptions of the major wars in the region. One of the most useful sections of the book is Chapter 25 (Ten Key Militant Groups). Here you get the history not only of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, but also lesser known groups that are active in Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkey. Davis also includes short descriptions of the multiple religious sects in the Middle East (not just the Shias and the Sunnis, but also the Copts, the Jacobites, and the various permutations of Judaism.) If you are new to the history of the Middle East, this is not a bad place to start. Review by Edward Trimnell, author of "Understanding the Middle East: History, Religion, and the Clash of Cultures" (ISBN: 0974833061)

The Middle East For Dummies

The book was just what I was looking for.It covered a wide range in simple terms and was easy to use.

Informative overview of the entire Middle East

The Middle East for Dummies gives a fairly even-handed overview of the Middle East region - its people, history, traditions as well as political and religious conflicts. The writer has actually travelled to the region and spent time with many ordinary people there. Reading this book really made me think about the fact that people are just people everywhere. I learned a lot about the diversity of cultures and people within the Middle East and got a solid understanding of how the political conflict in the region developed. The writer gives both sides of the story, which is really refreshing for such a charged up subject. If you want to really learn something, this is a great book. I'd also beware of other reviewers here; look at their profiles and see how biased they are. I normally don't write reviews, but when I saw the quality of reviews on books on this subject, I really felt I should write something.

The Story Behind the Story

I bought this book as sort of a starting point to read other books about the current Middle East mess, and found it to be quite informative; provides a number of maps and pictures to show the layout of the region's past, and brings the reader up to date (though it's ever-changing) on the turmoil going on there now. The Middle East for Dummies, however, is not just Bullets Over Baghdad; it contains information about it's colorful culture throughout the years, and serves well as a reference guide, whether, as other posts state, it is biased or not.

Fact based, unbiased, and informative

This book serves its purpose well. The author presents the history and culture of the Middle East by laying out the facts, and weaving in editorial comments to enhance understanding of the facts. Reading this book will allow anyone to have a basic, but strong understanding of the region. I disagree strongly that this book is biased; quite to the contrary, it is one of the few English language books about the Middle East that presents the facts and the the persepctive of all sides truly evenly.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured