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The Arab Mind

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  366 ratings  ·  32 reviews
First published in 1973, revised in 1983, and updated in 2007 with new demographic information about the Arab world, The Arab Mind takes readers on a journey through the societies and peoples of a complex and volatile region. This sensitive study explores the historical origins of Arab nationalism, the distinctive rhetorical style of Arabic speakers and its effect on polit ...more
Kindle Edition, 498 pages
Published September 16th 2014 (first published January 1st 1973)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  366 ratings  ·  32 reviews


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♥ Ibrahim ♥
As an Arab, I am amazed at this author what genius he has in presenting the Arab mind as if he is an insider himself. He talks about Al Fahlawi for instance, the typical Arab who is praised for his wit and cunningness in being such a con artist. If you say to my father that so and so is a fahlwai, he would smile and say, good for him; such a clever man! This is by far the best book I have seen in English written about my people, the Arabs. If you have one bit of interest in the Arab people, you ...more
Cæsar Dicāx
Jun 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A very unscientific, biased and full-of-lies-book. I am really astonished at how the author claimed living between Arabs, yet most of what he talks about is nonsense. I will try to make my review as short as possible, but i want to indicate something that no one talked about; Patai was Jewish, he lived in the time of Arab-Israeli conflicts, so i can't trust him a bit, and it's understandable that he might sided with Israel, but come on, why relying on his account while i have much better books ( ...more
Charles J
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking at other reviews of “The Arab Mind,” it appears readers divide into two camps. The first group, for whom ideology matters more than reality, hate this book. The second group, largely military, for whom their lives depend on an accurate perception of reality, love this book. This divergence alone suggests the book is worth reading.

“The Arab Mind” was once an obscure book by an obscure man. Its rise to semi-prominence began in 2004, when during the Iraq War the American military, desperate
...more
Tariq Mahmood
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east, religion
For a detailed anthropological study of the Arab race, Raphael has indeed done a pretty thorough job. He has demonstrated the Arab conscience, both internal and external in great detail with countless examples from the current history. Questions like why Western colonists are hated so much more than the Ottomons who colonized all of the Arab countries far longer, the Arab relationship with modernity, its treatment of women, episodes of sudden and inexplicable emotional outbursts are adequately c ...more
Ron
Jun 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current_affairs
Read this before living in Saudi Arabia for two years (1983-1985). Was an invaluable preparation for the different thought processes I'd find. I found more diversity among Saudis than the book lead me to expect, but it was right on in the different vector between Western and Middle eastern thought.

I rated it three because it was not then a very readable text. Hopefully accessibility has improved in later editions.

No, I can't explain it in a few sentences. You need to read the book.
Michael O'Brien
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While at times it gets a bit academic, overall, this is an outstanding reference for those trying to gain a better understanding of Arab culture and society and the drivers and influences behind them. I enjoyed this book a great deal and found its information absolutely fascinating.
Wissam El Cheikh Hassan
It started somewhat interestingly with good historical and social contextual analysis of the Arabs. At some point after about a third of the book it seems the writing just starting putting words next to each other without any sense about Arabs., particularly images of mothers' caressing their sons' penises, or Arab men being circumcised in front of their brides, and a whole chapter on sexual hospitality where men would offer their wives to their guests. As a work of sexual fantasy it might be a ...more
Kameel Nasr
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book became a standard text for American foreign service employees after it came out in the 1970s and is responsible for distorting America's relationship with the Arab world. In a word, the book is racist. It globs together hundreds of millions of people in a series of cliches and distortions. If the book was about any other ethnic group, African Americans, Roman Catholics, Latinos, there would be a thousand condemnations. Gore Vidal said that America never got it right with its interventi ...more
Hassan
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Would not help you to understand Arab but rather judge them. It Also assume there is one Arab mind
د.نادر الملاح
I'd say this is one of the few books I've seen written about Arabs by a non-Arab person, but in a fair and well explained manner. I might not really agree with all things brought in by the author in this book, however, I do accept them as being "what he sees and believes", especially with the fact that those view are presented by the author mostly with some supportive evidence.

This book has been recognized as one of the seminal works in the field of Middle Eastern studies. This penetrating analy
...more
Robert Krenzel
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
I read this book about a year and a half prior to my first deployment to Iraq. I read it again prior to my second deployment, which had me embedded in an Iraqi unit. This book is not the absolute last word on the subject, but it is a useful introduction to Arab psychology and culture.
There are some bits that may be a bit overdone, but I will admit to experiencing things in Iraq that made me think, "Oh, THAT'S what Patai was talking about!" Perhaps I was just that ignorant, but this book inspired
...more
Adam Glantz
Dec 23, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Noone
This is a disappointing book from a scholar with such great credentials. Arabs are presented ahistorically and from a meandering perspective that swings between psychology, sociology, cultural studies & political science, depending upon which body of knowledge can be deployed to do the most damage. In many cases, the author relies on folk aphorisms & employs unfair, archetypal comparisons with "the average Westerner" or "the average American". So many fallacies. Terrible stuff. ...more
Wachlin007 Hotmail
Feb 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture, history
This book is about Arab culture. It is written by a non-Arab who has spent his lifetime studying the Arabic language and culture. The author has lived in the Middle East for extensive periods of time and has many Arab friends. I found it to be an enlightening book. He uses many historical examples to explain why Arabs are who they are and do what they do.
Janna
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I selected this book as research material for my next novel. Wow. What thorough insight into the Arab psyche. I encourage all Americans to read this book. It explains a lot of things that confused me about US/Arab relations. This book is not for entertainment, but it kept me engrossed.
Natassia
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very thorough guide to the cultural differences between the West and the Middle East. As about as non biased as you will find and it cites a wealth of research.
Robin Rosenblatt
A first source book to help each of us understand Arab Culture the is the complete opposite of Western culture. Personal relations in the Arab world. Between Arabs. I first read the book after two years in the Israeli Army 1973. Served in Gaza and Sinai. The book explains why Arab adults asked me to shoot their children.

On patrol in Jabalya, a small city in Gaza

While patrolling a side street with 3 three other soldiers we had a group of 20 to 30, 7 to 8 year old Arab children following after us
...more
Joyce
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very insightful
Nicholas Sterling
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What makes arabs tick

Eye opening on Arab development from childhood and customs and character and interactions within Arab and non Arab peoples. Recommended
Jinnie Lee
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Carmen Rawls, a college friend who is a Religious Scholar and a convert to Islam
Purchased from my local library sale. I read 1/2 of this book but I'm going to call it "finished" because I read the part that was really directed at laypersons, and do not feel a need to read the highly-scholastic last half. Also, I checked with a friend who is (a) former Christian converted to Islam and (b) a religious scholar/professor, to make sure this book is considered credible and not too far to either end of the political spectrum - and she concurred that it has an acceptible reputation ...more
Sarah
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: evangelism
I consider this book to represent one academic's overview/analysis of an entire people group that is difficult to define. The author admits that a lot of oversimplification and generalization has to be assumed to attempt the conclusions he draws. I read this book looking to better understand the culture of the Middle East, and it does provide a lot of background cultural information. I assume that this book is already somewhat or very out-of-date, and I would absolutely have to defer to the peop ...more
Dave Beeman
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
If you have any dealings with anyone from the Middle East this is a must read book. This book deals with all facets of Arab life and describes what makes an Arab tick. The author looks at the Arabs and the World; Islam and who are the Arabs. The group aspect of the mind. A section on Child rearing practices includes differential evaluation of boys and girls,early roots of the male-female relationship, childhood rewards and adult achievement and other areas. There are chapters on the language, pe ...more
Carrie Leedy
...I bought this book when we moved overseas, but haven't gotten around to reading it. It seems like more of a textbook read than something low-key I'd read at the pool or beach. My goal is to read it by the end of the year since I'm not working!
Scott4999
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Want to know the differences in Culture between the West and the Middle East then this is a must read.
Kyann
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed, not an easy read. I read it in small segments over several weeks, which made it a bit more palatable. Has great history, though.
Alex
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must if working in the Arab world.
Bella
Oct 09, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who works with Arabs
To me this book was fascinating! A must-read for anyone who works with Arabs!
Robert
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It clears up a few things but it also makes me realize how far apart our thinking is.
Nate Hill
Controversial and scathing in parts, this book should be read with caution and balanced by other study.
Will
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who wants to better understand the Arab world should read this book.
Santa
Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A racist crap !
Should I repeat this statement few more times, in caps, ... is it really necessary ?!
Certain bits and pieces of writings by Huntington, Bernard Lewis, a New Atheists, and alike, sound like first graders' writing exercise compared to this guy's parapsychological-race-bashing-kvasi-scientific rant.
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Raphael Patai (Hebrew רפאל פטאי; born Ervin György Patai, was a Hungarian-Jewish ethnographer, historian, Orientalist and anthropologist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphael...
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“It has been my observation that women are indeed crucial agents of change in the Arab world. I have always been impressed by their more progressive and enlightened thinking on the issues affecting Arab society. This was particularly true of the Iraqi women with whom I worked in Baghdad from June 2003 to January 2004. Far more sensible and realistic than the men, they are the key to cultural and political change in their world.” 1 likes
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