The author is a proud, patriotic, card-carrying Arab, deeply immersed in the brilliant cultural achievements of medieval Islamic civilization, and he argues persuasively that without the Arab contribution what we call Western Civilization would never have progressed beyond the Dark Ages. There are a few statements in this book that reveal how dated it is…”Lebanon is the most stable country in the Middle East”…”Suicide is rare among Moslems”…but it is rich in detail as it attempts to do justice to Arab culture. Israel and Zionism are omitted in this volume, although it goes up to the 1960’s, and the author takes a mild and objective view of Arab civilization’s relationship with the West, unlike many modern Arab intellectuals who are implacably hostile. A book like this could never have been written in the post-9/11 era, which makes me thankful that it is still in print. The book is an artifact of a bygone era when Arabs and Muslims were not yet the Enemy.
Feb 11 2011
History of the Arabs by Philip Hitti
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