• History


As David Lesch writes in his Preface, "Historians are a kind of secular priesthood, seemingly endowed with the power and means to select what is and what is not important for the rest of us." In A History of the Middle East Since the Rise of Islam, Lesch focuses on longue durée. Choosing the rise of Islam as the general beginning point of his one-volume history of the Middle East, Lesch argues that there is an indelible link between the rise of Islam and the overall environment that exists today in the region. The continuum of this chain of events is the primary focus of his book. Combining a comprehensive approach and an appealing, informal tone, Lesch offers the reader enough specifics to digest the flavor of particular periods, dynasties, movements, cultural markers, and ideological developments, yet general enough so that the totality of this history can be compared and contrasted. The result is a brilliant tour de force.

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