The Arabs

  • ISBN13: 9781400030415
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
The Arabs is widely considered one of the essential books for understanding the Middle East and the peoples who live there. David Lamb, who spent years as a correspondent in Cairo, explores the Arabs’ religious, political, and cultural views, noting the differences and key similarities between the many segments of the Arab world. He explains Arab attitudes and actions toward the West, including the growth of terrorism, and situates current events in a larger historical backdrop that goes back more than a thousand years.

Now thoroughly revised and updated, The Arabs takes the story up to 2001. Lamb analyzes the developments that led to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and helps the reader to understand how things got to that point. A veteran journalist, Lamb combines his extensive experience in covering international politics with his deeply informed insider’s knowledge to provide an intimate portrait of the Arab world today.

The Arabs

6 comments - What do you think?   Posted by admin - June 21, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Categories: Dubai Books  Tags:

The Arabs

  • ISBN13: 9781400030415
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
The Arabs is widely considered one of the essential books for understanding the Middle East and the peoples who live there. David Lamb, who spent years as a correspondent in Cairo, explores the Arabs’ religious, political, and cultural views, noting the differences and key similarities between the many segments of the Arab world. He explains Arab attitudes and actions toward the West, including the growth of terrorism, and situates current events in a larger historical backdrop that goes back more than a thousand years.

Now thoroughly revised and updated, The Arabs takes the story up to 2001. Lamb analyzes the developments that led to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and helps the reader to understand how things got to that point. A veteran journalist, Lamb combines his extensive experience in covering international politics with his deeply informed insider’s knowledge to provide an intimate portrait of the Arab world today.

The Arabs

5 comments - What do you think?   Posted by admin - at 11:53 pm

Categories: Dubai Books  Tags:

5 Responses to “The Arabs”

  1. I read reviews of this book before reading it myself and kept seeing mention of whether or not the author was biased, but no one mentioned what that bias is. (Usually “bias” is a code-word for “left.”) He is most certainly biased, but in a peculiar way.

    First off, Lamb is an American Patriot – and I mean that in every negative sense of the term. When it comes to his analysis of U.S. foreign policy toward the Arab world, the worst he assumes about the U.S. government is ignorance – never malice or conscious deception (that has been well documented). There are fellow journalists in the Arab world that he clearly ignores, since I know they have reported less U.S.-friendly information that would have been available to Lamb.

    Lamb does have a special place in his heart for Arabs though, and he gives the generic Arab a fairly favorable, if not sentimental, nod. He does try to break down some of the simplest and most detestable of stereotypes (though he consciously repeats a few of them himself).

    When it comes time to analyze particular leaders or events, his analysis is often shortsighted and unexamined. He is good at giving a brief overview of historical events of the second half of the 20th century (why I gave him 2 stars), but when he explores motivations he quickly slips into his own personal estimation of a leader’s personality (openly calls one “stupid,” for example) and misses some obvious aspects of the social and political conditions of the given country.

    Lamb is a journalist, so this book is quite anecdotal in nature (as opposed to historical or analytical). For me, its value lay in those anecdotes that were told in enough detail that I could glean something for myself. It was the childish nature of some of his “deeper” thoughts, though, that make me not recommend this book to anyone. There is a need for greater understanding of the Arab world by U.S. citizens, but I hope there are better sources out there (I’m still looking).
    Rating: 2 / 5

  2. I found this book to be a real disappointment. For starters, Lamb is a journalist rather than a scholar. Nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that much of the book reads like a “travelogue” based on anecdotes and personal encounters rather than a serious analysis of the Arab world. He certainly does not have the historical perspective or depth of knowledge of a true Middle East expert such as Bernard Lewis. This book might be somewhat informative to those just beginning to learn about the Arab world. But certainly there must be better “beginner” books out there.

    Lamb also appears to have a very limited knowledge of factual information about the region, especially historical facts, as demonstrated by the substantial number of errors in the book. For example, he describes ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as being Arab accomplishments. But these civilizations didn’t consider themselves to be Arabs and certainly didn’t speak the Arabic language, which Lamb himself later describes as the best criteria for determining who is Arab and who is not. The truth is that the Arabs were largely confined to the Arabian Peninsula until Muhammad, in the early 600’s, united the Arab tribes under Islam and began the wars of conquest which were to eventually bring the Arabic language to what is now considered to be the Arab world, including Egypt and Iraq. Finally, the original edition of this book was written in 1987. The 2002 edition has been partially updated. But much of the book is still outdated. For instance, his writings on the political violence that wrecked Lebanon in the 1980’s. The Arab world is a fascinating place. Please do it justice by finding a better book.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. S. G. Mo says:

    The pages of the book were fine but the front cover was ripped at a corner. And worst of all the book was STOLEN! I could see a library’s bar code on the back of the book and a little “Return by” paper in the last page. Wow. Really?
    Rating: 2 / 5

  4. This review is a rambling review in the same sense that David Lamb rambles through Arab Nations drawing salient points to cast a spotlight on the diversity factor of Arabs from the perspective of a western paradigm. This book is by a Western author who largely paints a contemptual picture of Arabs. For instance he suggest that jihad would be considered the “sixth pillar of Islam” and would define jihad as holy war. These statements would be an insult to a Muslim. And these printed words, read by the millions of Westerners would most certainly breed contempt. He then weaves nuggets of fact, about Islam that grates across the fabric of our core values. Separations of church and state rules are diametrically opposed when comparing Christianity and Islam. The facts laid out are consistent with most everything I have read. It connects the past with the present, which may give insight into the future.

    The book actually takes you on a tour of all the Arab nations in an effort to give you a feel for how life would be in that country. For instance: The author describes Cairo as a city in decline of major proportion. The reasons why are: 1.) Centralization of all Egyptian commerce in Cairo, 2) a constant state of hot or cold war with Israel, 3.) Nassar’s burst of socialistic policy from 1973 to 1990, 4.) over population from a baby boom growing at the rate of a 1,000 people per day. The population density in Cairo is 240,000 people per square mile. People actually rent living space in cemeteries underneath tombs. It should be interesting to note that the United States has spent $62M in aid to help Egypt institute birth control. The downward spiral in Cairo’s economy has led the desperate young to seek out Islam as a refuge.

    To view my complete review please reference keword cigarroomofbooks
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Well, this was definitely an interesting book. Mr Lamb is a fabulous writer who weaves history and story-telling together seamlessly. I really couldn’t put this book down. So bravo on that front.

    However…there were some bits of the book where I just felt like rapping the guy over the head. He mistranslates a few Arabic words (for example: “Muslim” coming from “salaam” meaning “peace”?…come on, it’s a whole different root word!) which is annoying, but understandable, him not being an Arabic scholar. But what really threw me was how some of his “facts” made it past the editor. For example, I literally gaped in surprise over how he calls the Byzantine Christians, circa the rise of the Islamic Empire, “oppressed” and anxiously awaiting their liberation by the Arab armies…I mean…seeing as Byzantium had been a Christian empire for 300 years upon the birth of Muhammad, I don’t see how Christians could be oppressed in ole Constantinople. I was also unnerved by his presentation of Saudi Arabia as a model nation, as far as the repression of crime was concerned. Yes, it’s amazing how well they seem to control their citizens. Who wouldn’t behave with the threat of drowning for being a disobedient wife, being stoned to death for being raped or having a hand amputated for stealing something as inconsequential as a piece of bread? Honestly…Though I rant, I can at least appreciate the fact that he was at least attempting to be non-biased.

    Aside from his few misdirected attempts at being a historian, I enjoyed this book, in particular his look at the creation of a terrorist, and while reading it, I kept wondering what his thoughts would be about the state of the world today and how the superpowers are dealing with its presence in every aspect of modern political life. Time for another book, David Lamb? Except this time, you should probably change your editor.
    Rating: 3 / 5

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