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The Modern Middle East

A History

Third Edition

James L. Gelvin

Publication Date - March 2011

ISBN: 9780199766055

400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $49.95

Lively survey with a clear and strong perspective and an interpretive framework


Newly revised and updated for the second decade of the twenty-first century, the third edition of The Modern Middle East: A History explores how the forces associated with global modernity have shaped the social, economic, cultural, and political life in the region over the course of the past 500 years. Beginning with the first glimmerings of the current international state and economic systems in the sixteenth century, this book examines the impact of imperial and imperialist legacies, the great nineteenth-century transformation, cultural continuities and upheavals, international diplomacy, economic booms and busts, the emergence of authoritarian regimes, and the current challenges to those regimes on everyday life in an area of vital concern to us all.

Engagingly written, drawing from the author's own research and other studies, and stocked with maps and photographs, original documents, and an abundance of supplementary materials, The Modern Middle East: A History, Third Edition, will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights into the events that have shaped history and the debates about them that have absorbed historians.

New to this Edition

  • The Introduction and Parts III and IV have been extensively revised and updated
  • Chapter 20, on political Islam, has been entirely rewritten
  • New vignettes and document selections have been added to the text
  • A new, expanded, photo essay, along with new photographs, have also been added

About the Author(s)

James L. Gelvin is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. An award-winning teacher, he is the author of The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War (2005, 2007), Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (1998), and numerous shorter works.

Previous Publication Date(s)

August 2007
August 2004


"Gelvin evokes a fascinating tale of the intersection of the forces of progress, reformation, revolution and imperialism that have collectively defined the modern Middle East. His cogent and crisply written history now sets the standard for serious surveys of the region."--Ussama Makdisi, Rice University

"By far the most engaging survey of the modern Middle East that I have read in a long time. . . . clearly written, often humorous, accessible to students and non-specialists and theoretically sophisticated."--Dina Rizk Khoury, George Washington University

"An important and much-needed conceptual approach to the modern history of the Middle East."--Edmund "Terry" Burke III, University of California, Santa Cruz

Table of Contents


    Vignettes and Maps
    A Note on Transliteration
    Introduction: 9/11 in Historical Perspective

    Part I: The Advent of the Modern Age

    1. From Late Antiquity to the Dawn of a New Age
    2. Gunpowder Empires
    3. The Middle East and the Modern World System
    4. War, Diplomacy, and the New Global Balance of Power

    Evliya Chelebi: Seyahatanamé
    Draft Treaty of Amity & Commerce between the Ottoman Empire and France, February 1535
    The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East-Indies (1)
    The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East-Indies (2)

    Suggested Readings

    Part II: The Question of Modernity

    5. Defensive Developmentalism
    6. Imperialism
    7. Wasif Jawhariyyeh and the Great Nineteenth-Century Transformation

    Photo Essay: The Great Transformation

    8. The Life of the Mind
    9. Secularism and Modernity
    10. Constitutionalism

    Commercial Convention (Balta Liman): Britain and the Ottoman Empire
    The Hatt-i Sharif of Gulhane
    The Islahat Fermani
    The d'Arcy Oil Concession
    Algeria: Poetry of Loss
    Huda Shaarawi: A New Mentor and Her Salon for Women
    Rifa"a Raf" al-Tahtawi: The Extraction of Gold or an Overview of Paris
    Muhammad "Abduh: The Theology of Unity
    Namik Kemal: Extract from the Journal Hürriyet
    The Supplementary Fundamental Laws of 7 October 1907

    Suggested Readings

    Part III: World War I and the Middle East State System

    11. State-Building by Decree
    12. State-Building by Revolution and Conquest
    13. The Introduction and Spread of Nationalism
    14. The Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

    Resolution of the Syrian General Congress at Damascus, 2 July 1919
    Theodor Herzl: A Solution of the Jewish Question
    The Balfour Declaration, 2 November 1917
    Mahmud Darwish: Eleven Planets in the Last Andalusian Sky

    Suggested Readings

    Part IV: The Contemporary Era

    15. State and Society in the Contemporary Middle East: An Old/New Relationship??
    16. Oil
    17. The United States and the Middle East
    18. Israel, the Arab States, and the Palestinians
    19. The Iranian Revolution
    20. Political Islam

    Conclusion: The Middle East in the "Age of Globalization"

    Speech Delivered by President Gamal Ayatollah Khomeini: Islamic Government
    Sayyid Qutb: Milestones

    Suggested Readings

    Biographical Sketches