The Arabs: A History

  • ISBN13: 9780465071005
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
To American observers, the Arab world often seems little more than a distant battleground characterized by religious zealotry and political chaos. Years of tone-deaf US policies have left the region powerless to control its own destiny—playing into a longstanding sense of shame and impotence for a once-mighty people. In this definitive account, preeminent historian Eugene Rogan traces five centuries of Arab history, from the Ottoman conquests through the British a… More >>

The Arabs: A History

5 comments - What do you think?   Posted by admin - February 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Categories: Abu Dhabi Events  Tags:

The Arabs: A History

  • ISBN13: 9780465071005
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
To American observers, the Arab world often seems little more than a distant battleground characterized by religious zealotry and political chaos. Years of tone-deaf US policies have left the region powerless to control its own destiny—playing into a longstanding sense of shame and impotence for a once-mighty people. In this definitive account, preeminent historian Eugene Rogan traces five centuries of Arab history, from the Ottoman conquests through the British a… More >>

The Arabs: A History

5 comments - What do you think?   Posted by admin - at 11:52 pm

Categories: Abu Dhabi Events  Tags:

5 Responses to “The Arabs: A History”

  1. B. Gilad says:

    When one reads a book by an historian, one instinctively defers to the authority inherited in the title. Don’t. This book is so full of inaccuracies, fantasies, and prejudices that all you get at the end is the familiar British fascination with the Noble Arab and a full beating on the Jews, the West and everyone else as responsible for the current state of the war between civilizations. It is not their culture, the religion, the mentality, the backward societal structure. No, it is all us.

    If one does not know better, the “evidence” may seem supportive of Rogan’s classic pro-Arab view. Take for example Chapter 9 about the Arab Israeli conflict. If one does not know first hand the evolution of Israel, for example, one may get (like the first reviewer) a “less rosy” picture of the creation of the Jewish state. But one should know better. Just follow the Notes. Rogan’s sources are mostly Arab, and a few new-age revisionists of history. One of those, incidentally, lost a libel suit in court and had to retract an imaginary story of “massacre” of Arabs by Jews. Out of hundreds of reliable, documented, archived reports on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Rogan listens only to a few he likes. There are so many fables and fantasies fed to us by Rogan and his “reliable” sources that it is futile to refute them one by one. The most outrageous is the infamous claim that Arab owned 94% of Palestine in 1947, and therefore the UN gave the Jews land which wasn’t theirs. This myth is based on one source claims that as of 1947, the Jews owned 7% of the land in larger Palestine (which included the West bank of today) through legal purchase from the local land owners. The 1939 White Paper from Britain restricted how much they could buy. So it must be the 93% was owned by the local Arabs? Right?

    Wrong. Most of the 93% was owned by no one! The local Arabs did not have any documents showing their ownership under the Ottoman Empire. Many of them just grabbed the land when migrated from neighboring areas. Walking your herd through an area does not make it your property. If it did, Canada and the USA would have to pay rent on the total North America Continent to the Indians. That would be pretty expensive, wouldn’t it? (I am sure someone at the loony left wing Oxford University already advocates that arrangement..). The land the UN assigned to the Jewish people was mostly the Negev Desert (2/3 of the Jewish State!!) that no one wanted, and the rest was populated by a Jewish majority with as much rights as any local to the land. So from now on we will have a saying: Lies, damn lies, statistics and Oxford’s numbers…

    There isn’t even any need to refer to the Bible to see the truth Rogan and his Arab friends do not want us to see. When the first Jewish pioneers arrived in Palestine in the 19th century, the land was mostly empty (about 50,000 locals) and as witnessed by European travelers at the time, full of malaria producing swamps. The Jewish Fund was buying such land whose owners could be located since the early 20th century. The Arab owners that did have records were happy to sell it to the crazy Zionists, who turned it into paradise of cultivated fields, as hundreds died in the process. But all that’s not going to look good in Rogan’s story, so let’s not dwell upon it.

    (A few other examples of his “facts”: the battle of Al-Castle reverses the numbers -thousands of Arabs against dozens of Jews becomes at Rogan’s magic wand an elite Jewish fighting force against a few hundred poorly equipped Arabs. Next will be the video game; the total Jewish fighting force is reported at 65,000, a number right out of Rogan and his sources’ imagination counting telephone polls probably, while the true size of the Arab forces fighting the Jews are hidden mostly in the Notes. Most Jewish fighters were on paper only; many were new immigrants from Europe, refugees of the Holocaust, with no weapons and no training. At most the Jewish people could organize 15,000-20,000 trained people to fight. The Egyptians alone threw 40,000 soldiers backed by tanks, artillery, and 30 Spitfire aircrafts against several hundred Jews in the south of Israel; The Iraqis sent 18,000 soldiers, the Jordanians attacked with the best trained and (British) equipped 12,000 strong army in the area, and the locals (which the British actively supported with intelligence, training, and weapons near the end of their occupation), had more than 12,000 in Jaffe alone, and thousands more in the Arab Liberation Army. Syria, Lebanon and even Yemen and Saudi Arabia joined the fun with thousands more troops!).

    Historical distortions aside, it is the “insight” or “analysis” that is truly disappointing. History is a pseudo-science, pretending “objectivity”. But moral tone seeps in. Rogan “fully understands” and sympathizes with the Arab Palestinians. The 1.2 million locals saw their land taken away by 600,000 horrible Jews and the UN approved. How could they not fight back? The fact that most Palestinians migrated to Israel from neighboring Arab countries once the Jews came there and brought work and prosperity is completely ignored (one can trace the time line of the growth of populations, both Jewish and the following Arabs in documents all over the internet). And according to Rogan’s one sided perspective, it was the Jews who started with terrorism (by the extreme groups, Irgun and Lehi who fought the British occupation), which brought a dangerous precedent to the Middle East!! Bad, bad Jews. The fact that the local Arab gangs used terrorist tactics against isolated Jewish settlements in the 1920s and 1930s (Google Tel Chai, for one famous example), killing innocent civilians long before the Jewish resistance against the British, is irrelevant to Rogan. Why spoil a good story? Those gangs were justified angry farmers, rebelling against colonial forces, not terrorists according to Rogan. And so on and so forth, 1000 and One Nights a la British “disaffected” view. So New Age, so loony.

    And talk about reverse morality of this “historian”: The local Arabs started the war in 1947, a day after the UN resolution creating Israel, by killing 7 Jewish civilians, and the neighboring Arab countries invaded in 1948. The Jews never started the war; they defended themselves under the international law. For Rogan, though, “hostilities” just happened in the area, why question who the aggressor is and who is the defender? That’s so yesterday morality.. The sin of the Jews, per the British intellectual elite, is that they won a heroic victory of David vs Goliath. Oxford University (where the Business School was donated by a rich Arab businessman) will never forgive them for that. Next, Rogan is probably going to write the story of the Hutus in Rwanda. They were really angry when they killed a million Tutsi, and they had the right, as colonial forces did bad things in Africa. Bad, bad Tutsi, they fought back!

    Do yourself a favor, Wiki “the Arabs” instead. It will give you better sources and more balanced view (i.e, reality) at much lower price.

    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. One can hardly escape the impression, that Mr. Rogan authored this book to present a political agenda. Apparently the author belongs to the circle of historians at Oxford University and elsewhere (Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappé, Norman Finkelstein), whose main purpose is to discredit Israel, using a rather shaky vehicle of academic credibility. Roughly a third of the book is interwoven with the Arab-Israeli conflict, cleverly selling the idea that Israel is to blame for most woes and troubles occurring in the Arab world. Conveniently disregarding the fact that Palestinians suffered less than a hundredth of the total people killed and maimed in various inter-Arab conflicts, Darfur, the Iraqi-Iranian war, the use of poison gas by Iraqis against their own people and by Nasser against Yemen, and countless other internecine atrocities are either not mentioned at all, or are taken lightly. Following a well trodden path, Mr. Rogan calls one side to the conflict the “terrorists” (the Jews of course), while the good guys (suicide bombers of Hamas aiming only at civilians) as mere “activists”. Going one step further, Rogan blames the “Stern Gang” (Lehi, a right wing Jewish splinter group created in 1940) for inventing terrorist activities, quote p. 252: “By using terror tactics to achieve political objectives, they also set a dangerous precedent in Middle Eastern history…”. Precedent? Maybe, if you read the Oxford terminology: the massacre of 67 Jews in Hebron (24th August 1929) and many others elsewhere by Arab “activists” is named simply as a “round of violence” (p. 198). The chronology of terror preceding any Lehi activity continues on page 206, best described by Rogan himself: “…British soldiers took revenge for killing their comrades by a land mine in September 1938 by loading more than twenty men from the village of al-Bassa into a bus and forcing them at gun point to drive over a land mine the British themselves had buried in the middle of the village access road. All of the occupants were killed…” Not terror, not yet a precedent of course. Almost all quotes and references are conveniently taken from Arab sources, or from the incestuous circle of Israel bashing historians like Avi Shlaim. Whenever helpful, facts are cleverly manipulated. Putting aside truth, this is an eminently readable book. So are the tales of Hans Christian Andersen.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. J. Sternberg says:

    I will keep this simple. If you believe, or wish to believe, that Yasser Arafat supported a two-state solution and gave up on terrorism in 1974, then this book is for you (as well as the Brooklyn Bridge). Rogan finds fault in Arabs, per se, and for Israelis, but NEVER for the Palestinians. Through a good portion of the book, he even conveniently ignores that Jordan was created from the Palestine Mandate and that, indigenous Jordanians (as opposed to the Hashemite carpetbaggers) are just as “Palestinian” as the Palestinians.

    The book reads easily, but, so many of the claims appear so sketchy, that it makes it difficult for the reader to separate the wheat from the chafe. If you want to read something that is critical of both Palestinians and Israelis, I would recommend any of a number of books by Benny Morris before taking the time to read this. But, if you want a Palestinian, if not Arab, apologia, this is the book for you.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  4. Anonymous says:

    Professor Rogan has set out to write a sweeping history of the Arab people. And he has done so. However, his extremely pro-Arab and pro-Islamist worldview (perhaps not atypical for an Oxford don) and his self-serving selective use of sources yield an extremely one-sided narrative that becomes more and more obviously warped as it approaches the current day.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  5. “The Arabs” is a comprehensive history of the Arab countries from the 12th century. Mr Rogan presents what seems to be a very fair handed and complete story of the growth of these countries and their relationships with Western powers.

    I have a better understanding of the hatred many in the Mideast have for Western democracys who treated the Arab countries with lies, deceit and exploitation over the centuries. He also details the ineptness of Arab leadership who invariably were more interested in improving their own personal lot and at the expense of their countrymen.

    The Palestinian-Israel situation is described in great detail and one wonders how the United States can justify their posture and past actions in light of grievous wrongs done to the Palestinians.

    An eye opening book written in a most interesting style.
    Rating: 5 / 5

Leave a Comment