Paul asked:

Recently I read the following books, which gave great insight on Greek history: 1. Tom Holland - Persian Fire 2. Robin Lane Fox - Alexander the Great 3. James Romm - Ghost on the Throne For now I am satiated on Greek history however and was wondering if anyone could give some recommended reading on earlier history? I'm particularly interested in ancient Egypt and the Middle East.

Marc Towersap A nice insight (admittedly from a western perspective) on the current middle east is 'And All hell broke Loose: Two decades in the Middle East' by Richard Engel. He is a journalist, he crazily got his start just by going to Egypt hoping to report there, and succeeded! He was there at the start of the Arab Spring, how Egypt had changed, then off to the other conflicts in the middle east.

Also enjoyed Thomas Friedman's 'From Beirut to Jerusalem', although now the book is 30 years old (!!).

There is also bernard lewis's "The Middle East: A brief hitory of the last 2000 years' which is also quite good.

Also loved 'the fourth crusade the and sack of constantinople', crazy times did that cover!

the middle east is a tough one, there's so many civilizations, Sumerians, Akkadians, Elam, Babylonian, Hittite, Assyria, etc etc. and the older you go, the harder to read simply because there's less have been uncovered about them. but quite fascinating!

I swear I read an egypt book, but it may be I read parts from other books, I read a lot... and egypt would include books on the Roman empire, Napolean (he tried to invade Egypt), Greek, Middle east, etc.

And also loved Simon Sebag Montefoire's Jerusalem: The Biography. learned a heck of a lot!!

eFTy I heartily recommend Life Under the Pharaohs by Bernard Cottrell - it doesn't focus on the 'large' history but rather gives you a grounded view of life in ancient Egypt.
Miss As a starting point on Ancient Egyptian history, I recommend The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby WIlkinson. It's a little light on details but it covers the whole history of the ancient Egyptian people and is a great starting to point to identify which dynasties kings or events you would like to read about in more detail. I haven't done any reading on the ancient history of the Middle East, but if you are interested in quite a candid and balanced look at the recent history of the region (post WWII) then I can't recommend Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon by Robert Fisk enough. Enjoy.
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