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

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  9 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
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Harvard University Press (first published 1999)
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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
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
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
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.
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
Middle Easterners are responsible for their own fate. They created their own modern existence. "Western Guilt" is not a historical reality.
Before you commit to a view of middle eastern politics, read this history.
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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...
Islamic Imperialism: A History Palestine Betrayed The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 Fabricating Israeli History: The 'New Historians' The Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Palestine War 1948

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