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A Short History of the Middle East: From Ancient Empires to Islamic State

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Informative, fascinating and extremely well-researched...Gordon Kerr's book is a mini masterpiece' - ABC Brisbane Situated at the crossroads of three continents, the Middle East has confounded the ambition of conquerors and peacemakers alike. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all had their genesis in the region but with them came not just civilisation and religion but also ...more
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published February 25th 2016 by Pocket Essentials
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D.M. Miller
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm not one to give such a low star rating. If I don't like a book, I generally won't rate it at all because I know how much work goes into it, and I certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. However, the bias of this book must be noted. In my view it is anti-Israel, anti-Europe, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian. Yet it is pro-Muslim. That wouldn't bother me if it weren't so anti everything else.

In the beginning it mentions Jews and Christians in the Middle East but only briefly (as if they
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and I guess I understand a little better where the hate comes from but a little deep for this feeble mind. So many wars and so many people and nations so close together in geography and so far apart in ideology. It makes me sad and hopeful all together.
Muath Aziz
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, history
The history of the complex Middle East from thousands of years and up to recently. I didn't like the book at first, so full of dates and strange country names but along the way it became so dramatic and made sense. I see that from 1800s the middle east is controlled by the powerful countries around the world (Britain, France, Germany, America, Russia, and so on).

The briefness of the book really helps to understand what drives history and events. Regardless of the ideology itself, what matters is
The author, Kerr, goes into highly negative and disproportionate details about Israel, and shows an astoundingly clear bias. The man who couldn't even mention the Armenian genocide takes pains to highlight that there were "illegal Zionist radio stations" and continued "illegal immigration of Jews in the British Mandate" (but neglects to mention that they were Jews fleeing for their lives, something that changes one's opinion somewhat). He even criticises the Jewish Palestinians for trying to ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This essentially does what it says on the cover, giving readers a short history of the Middle East. It is impossible to go into any real details of the vast history of a region and its people in under 300 pages, so it is indeed brief, but it does provide plenty of appetite whetting for further research.
Tom Bennett
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Necessarily light in places due to the sheer density of the subject. Benefits from the occasional re-reading of a paragraph or page.

But it serves the very useful task of taking the things you know, putting them in order and in context, and then filling in the gaps.

Dense, but very useful.
Josiah Sutton
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Instead of this book, I would suggest Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary. Kerr is dry and seems to list facts without their correlation to any narrative or broader struggle. He also seems to lean toward a semi-liberal support of US / UN involvement in the Middle East (luckily, no support for the Iraq war). Ansary is thoughtful and his perspective is more concerned with the perspectives of those in the Middle East. It is very clear what perspective these two books are coming from: Kerr appears to ...more
Mariano Abilleira
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bought it for the sole reason of understanding the shit-storm that is going on in the Middle East; since magazine and newspaper articles usually address it partially and cover particular topics.
Oil riches and geography unfortunately turned this area into a place of interest for the modern world; with internal turmoil and general unrest being the norm for the greater part of the 20th century, thanks in great deal to European mayor powers nagging around for their own agendas.
Talal Husseiny
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it

This book does a good job of summarizing the history of the middle east in a small and compressed manner. It talks about the ancient empires of middle eastern civilization all the way to the Arab immigration to Europe and raise of ISIS and other extremist groups. However, there are details that are inaccurate and do have a simplified analysis.

Overall, this book is a good read and does provide some basic insight into the middle east.
Short indeed! By the end I was wishing there'd be more to read, but the beginning was a bit dull with too many locations and names to memorise. That's from "Ancient civilisations" (5000 BCE) up to the 1900's, which is about half the book. From then on the names and events become more familiar, and I did learn substantially more about all the conflicts in the Middle East that are taking place even today.
Jupri Zulprianto
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book toldme that the middle east is less divine than I had thought it to be.
Liam Connolly
A simple, easy-to-read overview of key historical and modern topics in the Middle East. A good starting point for branching out into deeper subjects.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I posted my review of this book on my blog:
Aleksandra Jarosz
Cool and quick overview but written in such a boring manner I have already forgotten all the facts that I have read...
Zaki Qaraghuli
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
For those who are interested in having an overview in a brief, concentrated and orderly manner about the middle easts history, this book is recommended. ...more
Badrul Aini Sha'ari
Buku sejarah untuk yang tak minat baca sejarah.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice introduction, just a bit biased against Israel, in my opinion.
Md Azman Zaini
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Apr 19, 2017
Jayce Gee
rated it it was ok
Apr 05, 2018
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Oct 27, 2019
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Gordon Kerr was born in the Scottish new town of East Kilbride and worked in the wine trade and then bookselling and publishing before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of numerous books in a variety of genres, including art, history, true crime, travel and humour. He has a wife and two children and lives in Hampshire and when he can South West France. ...more

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