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Alexander The Great And The Hellenistic Age

Alexander The Great And The Hellenistic Age

A masterly narrative survey of three centuries, from Alexander’s conquest and empire to the triumph of Rome.

The book begins with the personality and achievements of Alexander the Great, and continues with the military and political violence of the successor-kingdoms that fought over his inheritance.

This era saw many important developments: a shift from the oral to the written; a move from the public to the private and a new individualist ethos; a huge growth in slavery, and therefore a glut of slave-labour which destroyed the incentive to innovate; a growing gap between rich and poor; a growing taste for luxury.
From Babel to Dragomans

From Babel to Dragomans

A collection of the most important essays on past and current history by the Western world’s foremost Islamic scholar

Bernard Lewis has charted the great centuries of Islamic power and civilisation but also, in his recent books WHAT WENT WRONG? and THE CRISIS OF ISLAM, Islam’s calamitous and bitter decline. This book collects together his most interesting and significant essays, papers, reviews and lectures.

They range from historical subjects such as religion and politics in Islam and Judaism, the culture and people of Iran, the great mosques of Istanbul, Middle Eastern food and feasts, the Mughals and the Ottomans, the rise and fall of British power in the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and racism – to current history such as the significance of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Includes discussion of the problems of Western historians dealing with the Islamic world.
Israel

Israel

A timely and definitive narrative history of Israel in the context of the modern Jewish experience and the Middle East. Ideal for anyone seeking to understand the roots of the current conflict in Gaza.

Written by one of Israel’s most notable scholars, this volume provides a breathtaking history of Israel from the origins of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century to the present day.

Anita Shapira’s gripping narrative explores the emergence of Zionism in Europe against the backdrop of relations among Jews, Arabs and Turks, and the earliest pioneer settlements in Palestine under Ottoman rule. Weaving together political, social and cultural developments in Palestine under the British mandate, Shapira creates a tapestry through which to understand the challenges of Israeli nation-building, including mass immigration, shifting cultural norms, the politics of war and world diplomacy, and the creation of democratic institutions and a civil society. References to contemporary diaries, memoirs and literature bring a human dimension to the story of Israel, from its declaration of independence in 1948 through successive decades of waging war, negotiating peace, and building a modern state with a vibrant society and culture.

Based on archival sources and the most up-to-date scholarly research, this authoritative history is a must-read for anyone with a passionate interest in Israel and the Middle East. ISRAEL: A HISTORY will be the gold standard in the field for years to come.
Istanbul

Istanbul

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

‘Life-filled and life-affirming history, steeped in romance and written with verve’ GUARDIAN


‘Richly entertaining and impeccably researched’ Peter Frankopan

Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu’ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names – Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul – resonates as an idea and a place, and overspills its boundaries – real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a story.

In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world’s greatest cities. As the longest-lived political entity in Europe, over the last 6,000 years Istanbul has absorbed a mosaic of micro-cities and cultures all gathering around the core. At the latest count archaeologists have measured forty-two human habitation layers. Phoenicians, Genoese, Venetians, Jews, Vikings, Azeris all called a patch of this earth their home. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly narrative history at its finest.
Queens of Jerusalem

Queens of Jerusalem

In 1187 Saladin’s armies besieged the holy city of Jerusalem. He had previously annihilated Jerusalem’s army at the battle of Hattin, and behind the city’s high walls a last-ditch defence was being led by an unlikely trio – including Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem. They could not resist Saladin, but, if they were lucky, they could negotiate terms that would save the lives of the city’s inhabitants.

Queen Sibylla was the last of a line of formidable female rulers in the Crusader States of Outremer. Yet for all the many books written about the Crusades, one aspect is conspicuously absent: the stories of women. Queens and princesses tend to be presented as passive transmitters of land and royal blood. In reality, women ruled, conducted diplomatic negotiations, made military decisions, forged alliances, rebelled, and undertook architectural projects. Sibylla’s grandmother Queen Melisende was the first queen to seize real political agency in Jerusalem and rule in her own right. She outmanoeuvred both her husband and son to seize real power in her kingdom, and was a force to be reckoned with in the politics of the medieval Middle East. The lives of her Armenian mother, her three sisters, and their daughters and granddaughters were no less intriguing.

The lives of this trailblazing dynasty of royal women, and the crusading Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, are the focus of Katherine Pangonis’s debut book. In QUEENS OF JERUSALEM she explores the role women played in the governing of the Middle East during periods of intense instability, and how they persevered to rule and seize greater power for themselves when the opportunity presented itself.
Syria's Secret Library

Syria's Secret Library

Daraya lies on the fringe of Damascus, just south west of the Syrian Capital. Yet it lives in another world. Besieged by Syrian government forces since 2011, its people were deprived of food, bombarded by bombs and missiles, and shot at by snipers. Its buildings lay in ruins; office buildings, shops and family homes shattered by the constant shelling from government forces. But deep beneath this scene of frightening devastation lay a secret library.

No signs marked its presence. While the streets above echoed with rifle fire and shelling, the secret world below was a haven of peace and tranquillity. Books, long rows of them, lined almost every wall. Bloated volumes with grand leather covers. Tattered old tomes with barely readable spines. Pocket sized guides to Syrian poetry. Religious works with gaudy gold-lettering and no-nonsense reference books, all arranged in well-ordered lines. But this precious hoard of books was not bought from publishers, book warehouses, or loaned by other libraries. Many people had risked their lives to save books from the devastation of war. Because to them, the secret library was a symbol of hope – of their determination to lead a meaningful existence and to rebuild their fractured society.

This is the story of an extraordinary place and the people who made it happen. It is also a book about human resilience and values. And through it all is threaded the very wonderful, universal love for books and the hope they can bring.

“Just like the body needs food the soul needs books.”
Anas Habib (library user)
The Crisis of Islam

The Crisis of Islam

The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world – a Sunday Times bestseller.

President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny.

He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam’s holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism’, `jihad’ and `fatwa’, and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand.
The Great Arab Conquests

The Great Arab Conquests

A popular history of the Arab invasions that carved out an empire from Spain to China

Today’s Arab world was created at breathtaking speed. Whereas the Roman Empire took over 200 years to reach its fullest extent, the Arab armies overran the whole Middle East, North Africa and Spain within a generation. They annihilated the thousand-year-old Persian Empire and reduced the Byzantine Empire to little more than a city-state based around Constantinople. Within a hundred years of the Prophet’s death, Muslim armies destroyed the Visigoth kingdom of Spain, and crossed the Pyrenees to occupy southern France.

This is the first popular English language account of this astonishing remaking of the political and religious map of the world. Hugh Kennedy’s sweeping narrative reveals how the Arab armies conquered almost everything in their path. One of the few academic historians with a genuine talent for story telling, he offers a compelling mix of larger-than-life characters, battles, treachery and the clash of civilizations.
The Mughal World

The Mughal World

Inside the opulent, decadent world of the Mughal emperors

The Mughal emperors were larger-than-life figures, men written on a supra-human scale who exercised absolute power. The three centuries of their rule, as laid out in Eraly’s previous volume, THE MUGHAL THRONE, mark one of the most crucial and fascinating periods of Indian history. Here, he looks beyond the story of the empires rise and fall – an exotic growth that was transplanted to India from Islamic Persia – to bring the world of the Mughal ruler and Hindu subject vividly into focus.

Blending contemporary sources and detailed description he introduces an India full of strangeness and contrast: of sacred harems and suttee rites, of brutal war and cultural and artistic refinement, of staggering opulence, deviant indulgences and abject poverty. From bizarre religious cults to the Mughal fondness for formal gardening, from murderous female bandits to the sex lives of the nobles, almost every angle of life is examined making this a comprehensive and absorbing introduction to India’s last Golden Age.
White Mountain

White Mountain

Home to mythical kingdoms, wars and expeditions, and strange and magical beasts, the Himalayas have always loomed tall in our imagination. Overrun at different times by Buddhism, Taoism, shamanism, Islam and Christianity, they are a grand central station of the world’s religions. They are also a plant hunter’s paradise, a climber’s challenge, and a traveller’s dream.

In his quest to explore the region’s seismic history, Twigger seeks out the Nagas, who helped his grandfather build a camp for Allied soldiers near Imphal during the Second World War and takes the most scenic bike ride in the world from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The result is a sweeping, fascinating and surprising journey through the history of the world’s greatest mountain range.
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