Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
The Multiple Identities Of The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the… (edition 1999)
The Multiple Identities of the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805211187, Paperback)The Multiple Identities of the Middle East by Bernard Lewis is a sharp diamond of a book. It cuts to the essence of how identity has traditionally been experienced by people in the Middle East, how Western political concepts have altered Middle-Eastern notions of identity, and how these imported Western ideas have inflamed political conflicts in that region. "The primary identities are those acquired at birth," Lewis writes. The first determiner of identity is blood, the second is place, and the third is religious community, which for many is "the only loyalty that transcends local and immediate bonds." Lewis adds, "The second broad category of identity is that of allegiance to a ruler," and notes that these two categories of identity were the only ones that existed until modern times, when the Middle East came under the influence of Europe. Now, he says, "a new kind [of identity] is evolving" between the two traditional categories that existed before. This is "the freely chosen cohesion and loyalty of voluntary associations, combining to form what is nowadays known as the civil society."
In nine brief chapters describing these various elements of identity, and the pain and empowerment that has come from their revision, Lewis ranges widely over the recent history of inter-Arab and Arab-Israeli conflicts. He solves no problems with this book, but he does clarify them as well as anyone has. The Multiple Identities of the Middle East is the kind of book that can reframe a reader's entire orientation to a subject, infusing one's perspective with empathy beyond anything an outsider to the region could possibly muster on his or her own. --Michael Joseph Gross
(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 06 Jan 2013 05:52:44 -0500)
No library descriptions found.
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.