Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.
Shrouding themselves and their aims in deepest secrecy, the leaders of the Taliban movement control Afghanistan with an inflexible, crushing fundamentalism. The most extreme and radical of all Islamic organizations, the Taliban inspires fascination, controversy, and especially fear in both the Muslim world and the West. Correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban into sharp focus in this enormously interesting and revealing book. It is the only authoritative account of the Taliban and modern day Afghanistan available to English language readers.
Based on his experiences as a journalist covering the civil war in Afghanistan for twenty years, traveling and living with the Taliban, and interviewing most of the Taliban leaders since their emergence to power in 1994, Rashid offers unparalleled firsthand information. He explains how the growth of Taliban power has already created severe instability in Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and five Central Asian republics. He describes the Taliban s role as a major player in a new Great Game a competition among Western countries and companies to build oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to Western and Asian markets. The author also discusses the controversial changes in American attitudes toward the Taliban from early support to recent bombings of Osama Bin Laden s hideaway and other Taliban-protected terrorist bases and how they have influenced the stability of the region.
In his classic book, T.E. Lawrence--forever known as Lawrence of Arabia--recounts his role in the origin of the modern Arab world. At first a shy Oxford scholar and archaeologist with a facility for languages, he joined and went on to lead the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks while the rest of the world was enmeshed in World War I. With its richly detailed evocation of the land and the people Lawrence passionately believed in, its incisive portraits of key players, from Faisal ibn Hussein, the future Hashemite king of Syria and Iraq, to General Sir Edmund Allenby and other members of the British imperial forces, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is an indispensible primary historical source. It helps us to understand today's Middle East, while giving us thrilling accounts of military exploits (including the liberation of Aqaba and Damascus), clandestine activities, and human foibles.
Bernard Lewis is recognized around the globe as one of the leading authorities on Islam. Hailed as "the world's foremost Islamic scholar" (Wall Street Journal), as "a towering figure among experts on the culture and religion of the Muslim world" (Baltimore Sun), and as "the doyen of Middle Eastern studies" (New York Times), Lewis is nothing less than a national treasure, a trusted voice that politicians, journalists, historians, and the general public have all turned to for insight into the Middle East.
Now, this revered authority has brought together writings and lectures that he has written over four decades, featuring his reflections on Middle Eastern history and foreign affairs, the Iranian Revolution, the state of Israel, the writing of history, and much more. The essays cover such urgent and compelling topics as "What Saddam Wrought," "Deconstructing Osama and His Evil Appeal," "The Middle East, Westernized Despite Itself," "The Enemies of God," and "Can Islam be Secularized?" The collection ranges from two English originals of articles published before only in foreign languages, to previously unpublished writings, to his highly regarded essays from publications such as Foreign Affairs and The New York Review of Books. With more than fifty pieces in all, plus a new introduction to the book by Lewis, this is a valuable collection for everyone interested in the Middle East.
Here then is a rich repository of wisdom on one of the key areas of the modern world--a wealth of profound reflections on Middle Eastern history, culture, politics, and current events.
Covering the time span from the Paleolithic period to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the eminent Egyptologist Donald Redford explores three thousand years of uninterrupted contact between Egypt and Western Asia across the Sinai land-bridge. In the vivid and lucid style that we expect from the author of the popular Akhenaten, Redford presents a sweeping narrative of the love-hate relationship between the peoples of ancient Israel/Palestine and Egypt.
Demystifies the area's culture, politics, and religions
Explore Middle Eastern history from ancient to modern times
Looking to better understand the Middle East? This plain-English guide explains the importance of the region, especially in light of recent events. You'll meet its people and their leaders, discover the differences and similarities between Arab and Western mindsets, and examine the wars and conflicts - including the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil - that led up to the current political situation.
The Dummies Way
* Explanations in plain English
* "Get in, get out" information
* Icons and other navigational aids
* Tear-out cheat sheet
* Top ten lists
* A dash of humor and fun
Traces the history of the core Islamic lands from their Golden Age to today, revealing the Muslim world's multi-faceted societies, political systems, key figures, and relationships with outside groups.
Much has been written about the Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm, and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, but until now no one has chronicled the perilous, spiraling course of U.S.-Iraqi relations from inside the highest military and diplomatic levels. In this revealing firsthand account, career intelligence officer and Arabic linguist Rick Francona takes the reader on an unforgettable odyssey from the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq War, to the top secret tactical decision-making meetings of the Desert Storm coalition forces, to the actual surrender at Safwan by Iraqi officials, many of whom he had worked with previously as allies.
As the point man for the highly sensitive support the United States gave Iraq in 1987-1988, during its war with Iran, Francona walked the streets of Baghdad, toured military facilities, and established close relations with high-ranking Iraqis. Through these activities he gained a unique and valuable perspective of Iraq's military capabilities and doctrine, including its use of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons. Later, as General Norman Schwarzkopf's personal interpreter, he shared in the successes, failures, and frustrations of political and military planning and prosecution during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. From the author's sparkling, informative prose, the reader discovers how the delicate coalition of international forces was developed and maintained despite contentious parochialism that threatened to divide the force and even U.S. services. Francona sheds considerable new light on the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. and coalition intelligence efforts and explodes myths surrounding their methods and results.
Objective, revealing, and often humorous, this unprecedented peek inside the closed doors of U.S. and international military decision-making documents an important epoch of U.S. and Middle East history and offers many lessons and warnings for current and future relations.