- ISBN13: 9781931930253
- Condition: NEW
- Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.
This new fourth edition of the classic introduction to Arab culture has been completely revised and updated to help readers understand the complex issues playing out on the world stage. Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times is a handbook, intended to be read easily and quickly, by people who are not specialists. Written by highly-esteemed Arabist and academic Margaret Nydell, Understanding Arabs will bring about understanding about modern-day Arabs for fo… More >>
5 thoughts on “Understanding Arabs: A Guide for Modern Times”
This book is a great textbook. It is written in a way that’s enjoyable to read & easy to understand. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to travel to the Middle East or even wants to understand more about the culture and customs in the Arab world. My professor, who lived in Egypt for several years, has only disagreed with the author on very few occasions. I wish all textbooks were this easy to read!
Rating: 4 / 5
This book IS THE DEFINITIVE resource in educating the Western Mindset on how best to PRACTICALLY wrap oneself effectively toward relating with the Middle Eastern Mindset. A quick read, table of contents easily listing topics of interest, and practical tips on how to deal with prospective day-to-day interactions with an Arabic person in their home country.
Rating: 5 / 5
I was quite disappointed with some of the material. Not only did the material seem slightly biased toward a more kindly view, it had a negative opinion of “The Arab Mind”, by Raphael Patai. The Arabs have not changed substantially since the seventh century. The tomes written by Jesuits and others, such as Andre Servier (La Psychologie du Musulman) are still quite useful and still important. I would keep the book in my Library, but I would certainly wear out others first.
Rating: 1 / 5
I was very disappointed with this book. Reading it, I couldn’t help but think that the author represents a viewpoint that is the opposite side of the coin of some of the harsher critics of Arabs and Islam. This is because the book reads more like an apologia for Arab failings and problems than it does a “handbook” (which is what the author claims she wrote it to be).
This is very evident in the chapters about militant Islam and anti-Americanism. The author obviously has tremendous empathy and sympathy for the Arab people, but she doesn’t show a whole lot of empathy for the American people. She argues –and I think she’s right– that most Arabs don’t hate individual Americans but instead hate America’s government. But this sort of reasoning overlooks the fact that America’s government was elected by the American people and its actions in the world reflect the consent of the majority of American people at least most of the time. In other words, a great deal of the actions of the American government that Arabs hate so much are just expressions of what we the American people (who Arabs profess not to hate) want and hold dear.
The author also says that a great deal of the hatred toward “the American government” is there because of our support for “corrupt, despotic Arab regimes.” I won’t deny that we have backed some rotten regimes in the past and not just in the Arab world. But ultimately, who is responsible for tolerating a corrupt autocracy or vicious dictatorship? It’s the people ruled by them. If the people don’t at least passively accept being misruled by such a regime, such a regime won’t exist for very long. Go ask the Shah of Iran’s ghost about that if you don’t believe me. So what I’m saying here is that a great deal of the Arabs’ predicament in the world is their own fault, but they displace that blame (like we Americans do sometimes ourselves) onto “the American government” instead of looking at themselves in the mirror.
So I think that unless you are the sort of person who thinks that any difficulties the US encounters in the world always have to be our fault and that the people who cause us difficulties don’t have free will but are instead “puppets” only able to react to American “sins” I wouldn’t bother reading this book.
Rating: 2 / 5
From, Being an Arab American of (Syrian) descent myself I know it is very complicated to have a good understanding of the more than 250 million Arabs worldwide, the vast majority being Muslim (90-95%) and the rest being Christian (5-10%)living and coming from places where the majority of the people are Arab like Syria (90%), Egypt (90%), Jordan (97%), Lebanon (95%), Tunisia (96%), and Yemen (92%).
Rating: 4 / 5