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Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian
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Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Went Wrong? tells the story of his extraordinary lifeAfter September 11, Americans who had never given much thought to the Middle East turned to Bernard Lewis for an explanation, catapulting What Went Wrong? and later Crisis of Islam to become number one bestsellers. He was the first to warn of a coming "clash of civilizatio ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Viking Adult (first published May 1st 2012)
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Bernard Lewis has acquired more languages than most people have sexual partners.

That lead-in was intended as hyperbole, until I did the math and realized it was potentially true in my case, depending on how you count languages (and sexual partners). So now I feel like a slacker in both departments.

Lewis published this memoir just a few months ago, at the inconceivable age of 96. True, he had a bit of help putting it together, but so what? Even supposing I make it to 96, I don’t plan on doing muc
[b]The Short Version[/b]
Bernard Lewis is a renowned Middle Eastern historian approaching his century mark. In this his swan-song he gives a brief biographical sketch from his early years through the time he begins to achieve fame in his field, gives favorite anecdotes from a lifetime spent as confidant and advisor to rulers and statesmen and from his career in academia, and finally, answers some of his critics. While very different from his multitude of scholarly writings, this one is still pack
Usually I find syntax of books written by history professors stuffy to read, but this narrative flows easily. “Middle Eastern” topic is interesting, one that’s not mainstream. (Brit Victorian snobbishness, “middle” from where? I’d prefer Eastern Mediterranean.) Some chapters are anecdotal travelogue, with wry wit interspersing the storyline. He recounts visits to various Eastern Mediterranean countries to give lectures, mixing with fellow academics and the populous. He outlines views regarding h ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Uwais is currently reading it
Went straight to chapter 10, "Orientalism and the Cult of Right Thinking" to see the last response to Said. I say last because Said is no longer with us to produce a response. I like Lewis, his earlier writings which I'm acquainted with leave one with so much admiration and yet the passages on Orientalism and Said are disappointing. There's little added here to what has already been mentioned in his earlier responses. In fact, Said is correct in saying Lewis simply cannot, does not and will not ...more
A thoughtful reminiscence of a long and complex life spent on a long and complex part of history.

The book starts out with a charming biographical segment, continuing up to his service in the Second World War. It is filled with a combination of dry British and Jewish humor, and a lot of fun to read. From the 1930s onwards, it transitions more into his thoughts on the Middle East and its history.

His work in history is extremely interesting and I will have to refer to it later. His thoughts on lear
Feb 07, 2014 Erwin marked it as abandoned
wanted to like this but it was just too slow for me. didn't hold my attention. perhaps im not enough of a middle east scholar to appreciate this one.
Alina Utrata
Say what you want about Bernard Lewis, his autobiography is one of an adorable absent-minded but brilliant professor of middle eastern history. His anecdotes and side-stories are interesting and witty, revealing many insights about the regions he studied. It is also full of many one-line zingers, such as his recount of asking a Turkish general on Turkey joining NATO, to which he replied, "The real problem with having Americans as your allies is you never knowing when they're going to turn around ...more
This autobiography of a leading Middle East historian is fairly interesting. It has several intersting stories and provides insight to a little of American foreign policy in the Middle East. It isn't particularly entralling but does have an even or steady interest level throughout. The beginning is more so bio and the end is of more contemporary interest. This book has led me to want to read other academic works of Benard Lewis.
The first half of the book, about the author's early days is a real slog to read through. But, the narrative becomes interesting when he started to relate his life to the current events in Middle East.
A lot of interesting information from almost a genius point of view. I was pretty overwhelmed by Bernard Lewis sometimes, and all the things he knew, that I lost contact with "the reality" of the book and what was it about.

Patricrk patrick
Autobiographical account of the life of Bernard Lewis. He is a prominent historian of the mid-east. This book written when he is 95 reveals a man full of humor and wisdom. Makes me determined to read some of his actual histories.
Steve Gross
Bernard Lewis is the doyen of Middle East scholars. I expected him to have had a more exciting life, visiting and studying Middle East countries and offering sage advice. Unfortunately, not much of either in this autobiography.
Adam DeVille, Ph.D.
Elegant, witty, insightful: here the nonagenarian historian Bernard Lewis, doyen of scholars and historians of Islam today, reflects on his long, rich, fascinating, and highly prolific life as a scholar.
Carol Kelley
I love Bernard Lewis. This was so good I checked it out three times and read very slowly, just to savor his writing style, choice of words, and dry humor.
Farrukh Pitafi
I never was a big fan of Bernard Lewis. But this book is really a treat.
Oct 30, 2012 Nevermore marked it as gave-up
Shelves: audiobooks
This is a great big huge snooze.
Linda Ethier
Aug 01, 2012 Linda Ethier marked it as to-read
WSJ review. May 12/13, 2012.
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Bernard Lewis, FBA (born May 31, 1916) is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He specializes in the history of Islam and the interaction between Islam and the West, and is especially famous in academic circles for his works on the history of the Ottoman ...more
More about Bernard Lewis...
The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East The Middle East The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam The Arabs in History

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