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Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  68 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
"Empires of the Sand" offers a bold and comprehensive reinterpretation of the struggle for mastery in the Middle East during the long nineteenth century (1789-1923). This book denies primacy to Western imperialism in the restructuring of the region and attributes equal responsibility to regional powers. Rejecting the view of modern Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of ...more
Paperback, 426 pages
Published April 2nd 2001 by Harvard University Press (first published 1999)
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Lucas Johnson
Jan 30, 2016 Lucas Johnson rated it really liked it
Very intriguing. I was entranced by the narrative sewn together by this duo, and I learned a great deal from my reading of it. I think the Karshes lean a little too far in the opposite direction from the mainstream, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, it expands horizons even when it fails. The responses that the book has received are quite weak, which makes me think they are on to something. One thing is for sure, the tendency for people of the Middle East to blame outside factors for thei ...more

I bought this book in 2002 and put it down after 50 pages. Now after 11 years I gave it a new chance.

What is positive about the book is that the Karsh couple seem to have done a good job researching many archives and working their way through a number of secondary sources (French, British, Arabic and Turkish studies).

The book gave me the impression of being 2 Books put together into one.
The book starts with Napoleons campaign to Egypt and the Ottoman Empire's reaction and Egyptian's Muhammad Al
Yunis Esa
Aug 25, 2015 Yunis Esa rated it liked it
I wish that the author dropped the first section of the book and renamed the book The fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Hashemite Empire,because that was focus of the book.
Jan 02, 2010 Broc rated it really liked it
Even if one does not accept the central premise that the current makeup of the Near East is largely a result of local political and "national" forces rather than the result of Western imposition, it is an excellent discussion of the many other factors that also contributed the map as it currently exists. At the its best it is an excellent discussion of how the West largely created the map largely in response to the will of those in power in the region.
Ghada Arafat
Feb 05, 2011 Ghada Arafat rated it did not like it
Very selective when it comes to using primary resources. At fist it seems like a great book with new ideas but unfotunatly for someone how knows a lot about the Middle East it does not bring anything new. For new readers about the ME do not start with this book.
Richard Willis
Mar 07, 2013 Richard Willis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
There's an interesting premise behind this book, and one that cannot be wholly discarded. It's in an episodal format, rather than a single narrative, but I feel that this was the best way to present the information: piece by piece, as it related to the subjects.
Dec 21, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
The premise of this book shouldn't be controversial. The rulers of the Middle East were just as greedy as the Western Powers. The desire for power and riches is universal across the world.
I highly recommend reading this one. An in-depth study on the Ottoman Empire and its dissolutoin to the states we have now. A bit high level in many areas, but overall a very good read.
Iqbal Latif
Nov 22, 2012 Iqbal Latif rated it really liked it
Middle Easterners are responsible for their own fate. They created their own modern existence. "Western Guilt" is not a historical reality.
Jun 06, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Before you commit to a view of middle eastern politics, read this history.
Arlian Sorkal
Feb 01, 2015 Arlian Sorkal rated it really liked it
very good
May 01, 2013 Fabián rated it really liked it
very good
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Efraim Karsh is director of the Middle East Forum, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, and Professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College London.

Born and raised in Israel, Mr. Karsh earned his undergraduate degree in Arabic language and literature and modern Middle Eastern history from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his graduate and doctoral degrees in international
More about Efraim Karsh...

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