The Multiple Identities of the Middle East

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Schocken Books, 2001 - History - 163 pages
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The Middle East is the birthplace of ancient civilizations, but most of the modern states that occupy its territory today are of recent origin, as are many key concepts of communal and individual identity and loyalty that the peoples of the region now confront. In The Multiple Identities of the Middle East, eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis elucidates the critical role of identity in the domestic, regional, and international tensions and conflicts of the Middle East today.

Examining religion, race and language, country, nation, and state, Lewis traces the rapid evolution of the identities of the Middle Eastern peoples, from the collapse of the centuries-old Ottoman Empire in 1918 to today's clash of old and new allegiances. He shows how, during the twentieth century, imported Western ideas such as liberalism, fascism, socialism, patriotism, and nationalism have transformed Middle Easterners' ancient notions of community, their self-perceptions, and their aspirations.

To this fascinating historical portrait, Lewis brings an understanding of the region and its peoples, as well as a profound sympathy for the plight that the modern world has imposed on them. The result is an invaluable tool in our understanding of an area that is of increasing global importance and concern today.

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THE MULTIPLE IDENTITIES OF THE MIDDLE EAST

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An enlightening, if occasionally repetitive, study of the uniquely complex notion of identity in the Middle East. Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University (Cultures in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jsoos - LibraryThing

interesting little volume that addresses some of the deep rooted issues in the Middle East. Very nice presentation of long-ingrained cultural issues via exploration of concepts such as nation and ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Bernard Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. His many books, which have been translated into more than twenty languages, include The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day, Semites and Anti-Semites, The Muslim Discovery of Europe, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, and The Arabs in History. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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