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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 Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, aBernard 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 Middle Eastern 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 urgent and 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The collection ranges from two English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, to previously unpublished writings, to his highly regarded essays from publications such as Foreign Affairs and The New York Review of Books.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....

Title : From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780195173369
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 438 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East Reviews

  • Gary
    2019-01-12 23:05

    Bernard Lewis is certainly one of the most articulate and prolific authorities on the subject of Islam and the Middle East.In this compendium of essays and speeches on the topic covering the last 60 years, Lewis makes a palpable contribution to the subject and gives us some much needed answers.Important points explain the Muslim prohibition on accepting the rule of non-Muslims, especially in lands that were ever under Islamic rule. This is illustrated by the Islamic faith's division of the world into the realms of Dar el Islam (House of Islam) and Dar el Harb (House of War) applied to any nation that is not under Islamic rule.According to Islam, for misbelievers (non Muslims) to rule over true believers (Muslims) is evil and blasphemous and leads to the corruption of religion and morality or even the abrogation of Allah's law.This may go some way to explaining the conflicts around the world where Muslims are under the governance of non-Muslim majorities such as Indian Kashmir, Serbian Kosovo, Israel and when it had a Christian majority-Lebanon.It also may explain why Muslims in Western and Central Europe demand a high degree of legal protection which those countries no longer give to Christianity and have never given to Jews. Or even demanding Sharia law in parts of Europe, and for example harassing and attacking non-Islamic women who they see as being dressed immodestly.Lewis' study of propaganda in the pre-modern Middle East may go some way to explain how Islamic propaganda (under tutelage during the 20th century of Fascism, Nazism and Communism) developed against Israel and Jews.He studies monarchy in the Middle East pointing out the important point that republics and democracy are not synonymous at all. In Europe the surviving monarchies are without exception constitutional democracies, while the tyrannies of the world today, are, almost without exception, republics.He also mentions republican dynasties where rule belongs to a single family.One also has to look at Syria of the Assads, Iraq before the liberation of 2003 (where Saddam was grooming his sons to take over from him) and Libya and Egypt (where Gaddafi and Mubarak respectively are grooming their sons to succeed them).Perhaps my favourite chapter is an Address to meeting in Jerusalem entitled 'The British Mandate for Palestine in Historical Perspective'Over here Lewis puctures the myth that there was ever a country in the Levant called 'Palestine'.While there were states in the region before the British Mandate, none of them were called 'Palestine'. Palestine was begun as a Greco-Roman term. The authorized version 'Old Testament' names 'Palestine' three times. all three were REMOVED in the revised edition because they are mistranslations of the word Philistia-Hebrew:Peleshet- not Palestine but Philistia.The name was first used for two and then three provinces in the Roman Empire, survived briefly in the early Arab Empire and then disappeared. The Crusaders called the country the holy Land, and their state the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Under Ottoman rule people in the area identified themselves by religion or descent, most often by allegiance to a particular tribe. when they identified themselves by locality it was by the city or immediate district of province. so they would have been Jerusalemites or Jaffaites, or like the Syrians identified with the larger province of Syria (The Syrians regarded the Holy Land was regarded as a part thereof, as did many of it's Arab inhabitants).Lewis dissects quite a few myths and propaganda ploys.Including the purile argument that Arabs and pro-Arabs cannot possibly be anti-Semites because Arabs are themselves Semites.The term anti-Semtism was an invention of the anti-Semites to provide a pseudo-scientific cover for Jew-hating and Jew-biting and did not apply to other Semitic peoples and certainly not Arabs.Lewis also rights how universities and the powers that control academic and information discourse have repressed history that is not politically correct.Hence students have been discouraged from studying the Arab role in the slave trade and slavery in the Middle East, even though the European slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries was begun by the Arabs.If this was made more apparent those who demand reparations for slavery from Europe and America would also have to demand the same from Arab states, which would certainly expose the anti-Western Third Worldist agenda.He also points out that there is a very good argument for the case that, as the Crusades were preceded by Islamic Jihad against Christendom , there is a very good case for the argument that the Crusades were a long delayed, limited response to Muslim Jihad.The author's 1970's essays on the hypocrisy of the United Nations are more true today than ever given the UN's obsessive focus on condemning Israel while ignoring all the real atrocities around the world.A great exploration of the questions involving conflict in the Middle East region, though not an easy read.

  • Gary
    2018-12-17 22:58

    Bernard Lewis is certainly one of the most articulate and prolific authorities on the subject of Islam and the Middle East.In this compendium of essays and speeches on the topic covering the last 60 years, Lewis makes a palpable contribution to the subject and gives us some much needed answers.Important points explain the Muslim prohibition on accepting the rule of non-Muslims, especially in lands that were ever under Islamic rule. This is illustrated by the Islamic faith's division of the world into the realms of Dar el Islam (House of Islam) and Dar el Harb (House of War) applied to any nation that is not under Islamic rule.According to Islam, for misbelievers (non Muslims) to rule over true believers (Muslims) is evil and blasphemous and leads to the corruption of religion and morality or even the abrogation of Allah's law.This may go some way to explaining the conflicts around the world where Muslims are under the governance of non-Muslim majorities such as Indian Kashmir, Serbian Kosovo, Israel and when it had a Christian majority-Lebanon.It also may explain why Muslims in Western and Central Europe demand a high degree of legal protection which those countries no longer give to Christianity and have never given to Jews. Or even demanding Sharia law in parts of Europe, and for example harassing and attacking non-Islamic women who they see as being dressed immodestly.Lewis' study of propaganda in the pre-modern Middle East may go some way to explain how Islamic propaganda (under tutelage during the 20th century of Fascism, Nazism and Communism) developed against Israel and Jews.He studies monarchy in the Middle East pointing out the important point that republics and democracy are not synonymous at all. In Europe the surviving monarchies are without exception constitutional democracies, while the tyrannies of the world today, are, almost without exception, republics.He also mentions republican dynasties where rule belongs to a single family.One also has to look at Syria of the Assads, Iraq before the liberation of 2003 (where Saddam was grooming his sons to take over from him) and Libya and Egypt (where Gaddafi and Mubarak respectively are grooming their sons to succeed them).Perhaps my favourite chapter is an Address to meeting in Jerusalem entitled 'The British Mandate for Palestine in Historical Perspective'Over here Lewis puctures the myth that there was ever a country in the Levant called 'Palestine'.While there were states in the region before the British Mandate, none of them were called 'Palestine'. Palestine was begun as a Greco-Roman term. The authorized version 'Old Testament' names 'Palestine' three times. all three were REMOVED in the revised edition because they are mistranslations of the word Philistia-Hebrew:Peleshet- not Palestine but Philistia.The name was first used for two and then three provinces in the Roman Empire, survived briefly in the early Arab Empire and then disappeared. The Crusaders called the country the holy Land, and their state the Kingdom of Jerusalem.Under Ottoman rule people in the area identified themselves by religion or descent, most often by allegiance to a particular tribe. when they identified themselves by locality it was by the city or immediate district of province. so they would have been Jerusalemites or Jaffaites, or like the Syrians identified with the larger province of Syria (The Syrians regarded the Holy Land was regarded as a part thereof, as did many of it's Arab inhabitants).Lewis dissects quite a few myths and propaganda ploys.Including the purile argument that Arabs and pro-Arabs cannot possibly be anti-Semites because Arabs are themselves Semites.The term anti-Semtism was an invention of the anti-Semites to provide a pseudo-scientific cover for Jew-hating and Jew-biting and did not apply to other Semitic peoples and certainly not Arabs.Lewis also rights how universities and the powers that control academic and information discourse have repressed history that is not politically correct.Hence students have been discouraged from studying the Arab role in the slave trade and slavery in the Middle East, even though the European slave trade of the 16th to 19th centuries was begun by the Arabs.If this was made more apparent those who demand reparations for slavery from Europe and America would also have to demand the same from Arab states, which would certainly expose the anti-Western Third Worldist agenda.He also points out that there is a very good argument for the case that, as the Crusades were preceded by Islamic Jihad against Christendom , there is a very good case for the argument that the Crusades were a long delayed, limited response to Muslim Jihad.The author's 1970's essays on the hypocrisy of the United Nations are more true today than ever given the UN's obsessive focus on condemning Israel while ignoring all the real atrocities around the world.A great exploration of the questions involving conflict in the Middle East region, though not an easy read.

  • Eric
    2018-12-22 22:10

    Another easy read. Numerous articles and short essays Lewis wrote of the course of several years. Topics area varied. Good for those avidly interested in the Middle East, as well as those who just want to read a short snippet every now and then.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-24 02:55

    Omg, finally done!

  • Bojan Tunguz
    2019-01-10 04:43

    The more things change, the more they remain the same. This old truism is a succinct description of this collection of essays and articles by Bernard Lewis. The collection spans well over half a century of scholarly work of this doyen of Orientalism and Near Eastern studies. It is a fascinating walk through many facets of the rich history of the Middle East, and if you are new to the subject, as I am, it is probably one of the best starting points to the field. Many articles touch upon the subject that are as relevant today as when Lewis first wrote about them, which in many ways is a bit unsettling. I am always a bit skeptical about the use of ancient feuds and disputes as a justification for modern-day conflicts, but if a certain theme persists more or less unchanged for many centuries, then it would be foolish to ignore it. This book can be an invaluable resource to anyone wishing to cast aside those foolishnesses and better understand what is going on in that part of the world. In the example of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Lewis convincingly shows how it was both ancient and modern, fundamentalist and contemporary. It would not do the full historical justice to treat it just in the light of the fundamentalist rhetoric, nor through a prism of contemporary revolutionary rhetoric. Showing the interplay of those two themes is what Lewis excels at, and this book is replete with similar examples.

  • Omar Ali
    2018-12-18 04:09

    Bernie gets a lot of bad press from my friends, but the information to bullshit ratio is very favorable in his books. Well worth a read (some of the current affairs essays are dated, but not lacking in interesting information).

  • Mike
    2019-01-14 23:58

    This collection of essays is disturbing and enlightening as a window into the past, present and future of relations with the Islamic world. A couple things stand out starkly, 1)Why is Iran (Persia) so different from other Islamic societies? And why do they mix Islamic with western practices (no such thing as a parliament or constitution in original Islamic society yet Iran has them). 2) Very interesting how Pan Arabism came to the region (from European roots). How nationalism developed quite recently which could be a positive or negative. 3)How the worldwide Islamic community is reinforced by the mandatory Haj vs the lack of impact by the optional Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. 4) How we (non-Islamic) live in the Islamic "House of War" and we better not forget how it sets up future progress or conflict. I found his discriptions of why they hate us and how they view the Israeli-Palestinian problem to be depressing, if you ever think there will be a solution. Yet there are beautiful stories here of a civilization that once ruled the world, sometimes with wisdom and tolerance (of a sort). How tolerant the West or the East is of members of other faiths is not always quite what you might imagine. Many essays are worth rereading to really get the full picture and most are enjoyable. If you want to understand Islam and the West, this book must be in your collection.

  • Grant
    2018-12-19 00:08

    A collection of Lewis' shorter works, collected around the theme of interpretation, broadly defined. Lewis does not shy away from controversy - as he puts it, sensitive subjects are like sensitive body parts, in that they usually require attention. Therefore, even if you don't agree with his points, he still inspires thought. The volume is broken into three parts, the first historical essays on various aspects of Middle Eastern history, and the second made up of (what at least at the time were) current events pieces, ranging from the 1950s to the 2000s. The final section consists of essays on the practice of history. The first section is the most valuable, as Lewis has long been one of the most wide-ranging historians of the Middle East. Many of the pieces in the second section are somewhat dated, but still have relevance. The third section is of greatest interest to historians. Overall, the quality is excellent though, since the essays were all originally written to stand alone, there is some overlap. Well worth reading.

  • Mohamed
    2018-12-23 22:45

    My luck with Dr. Lewis is mixed. Some of his books are impressive and well-thought such "Muslim discovery of the West." Others are half-backed like "what went wrong." His basic problem is that his area of expertise is the Ottoman Empire but he markets himself as an expert in every Islamic subject. An example of this problem is his hypothesis which he repeats in many place that asserts that Muslims cannot live within a non-Muslim society unless they are in a position of power. The problem with this hypothesis is that it neglects the existence of thriving Muslim communities in China for more than thousand years. I bought this book by chance when I was Ina bookstore in Portland, assuming based on the title that it documents history of translation and translators. I was however disappointed to find the book a collection of articles with no clear connection written over perhaps 40 years and placed along bewildering order. The book has some gems however such as his description of his stay in Egypt during a sabbatical in the late sixties.

  • Naomi
    2019-01-05 03:08

    Lewis' essays that make up this collection cover a number of decades, shedding light upon murky or less well understood events in the Middle East, and reflecting upon historiography and the work of the historian. Lewis appeals not for nationalist historiography, but of a telling that make sense of things in what actually happened and then offering, as much as possible, unbiased interpretation. He follows his own appeal, and in so doing offers in this collection some real insightful gems and much to assist readers in understanding better the times we live in and the conflicts we are carrying on, seeking to end, or are starting.

  • Ur Salem
    2019-01-02 23:07

    “Until most christian countries ceased to be devout, the general attitude on religion was very intolerant. It was intolerant of other religions .. When the Muslim ruled Spain, Christians, Muslims and Jews lived side by side in reasonable harmony; when the Christians reconquered Spain, first the Jews then the Muslims were expelled.”Bernard Lewis

  • Michael Gerald
    2018-12-22 01:13

    I have read of Bernard Lewis as something of an "expert" on the Middle East. But after reading this, I am in doubt if he deserves that. I have known some so-called experts from my university days and in my workplace who talk about this and expound on that. I hope Mr. Lewis is really not just one of those bags filled with hot air.

  • Stanislav Sokolenko
    2019-01-11 01:08

    An interesting collection of essays on a variety of different topics. While there was a bit too much overlap in some of the essays for my taste, it did not take away from the collection as a whole. The most interesting aspect has to be the fact that these essays span a large portion of the author's career, giving a feeling of completeness from the reading experience.

  • Carlos Alonso-Niemeyer
    2019-01-10 04:55

    Another great book from Lewis. This one is more of a collection of essays and stories of his dealings in the Middle East. If you are an "Arabist" like me, you will enjoy this book.Not for the beginner reader.

  • Kahilidoc
    2019-01-08 05:12

    still reading. This is a collection of essays by Lewis spaning several topics on the middle east.

  • Saman
    2019-01-05 01:44

    Dry book !The articles range from the good, the bad and the ugly.

  • Patrice
    2019-01-01 00:48

    Uncle! Another book that I just can't finish. Not that it isn't fascinating and Bernard Lewis is a great writer. I got about half way through and just got bogged down in all of the details.

  • Edith
    2019-01-04 00:43

    A very enjoyable collection of essays, even if I do take some disagreements with Lewis' take of modern (post-1990) history. Really liked the paragraph on first-person historical narratives.

  • جليسالكتاب
    2018-12-19 03:53

    It was a slow, dull and lifeless book. I were unable to complete it. The only book for Bernard Lewis that I were unable to complete.

  • Craig Bolton
    2019-01-12 22:55

    From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East by Bernard Lewis (2005)

  • Erika
    2018-12-28 02:58

    good perspective on history

  • Allison Thurman
    2018-12-24 02:08

    Library

  • William
    2018-12-29 03:51

    Brilliant insights into Middle Eastern history

  • Yvette West
    2019-01-04 23:10

    Clear concise and well presented. No one knows the Middle East in such definitive detail as does Bernard. I highly recommend this book

  • Craig Bolton
    2019-01-04 04:53

    From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East and What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response: 2-Volume Set by Bernard Lewis (2004)