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Eugene Rogan's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Eugene Rogan recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Eugene Rogan's favorite book recommendations of all time.


A History of the Arab Peoples

Encyclopedic and panoramic in its scope, this fascinating work chronicles the rich spiritual, political, and cultural institutions of Arab history through 13 centuries.

No region in the world today is more important than the Middle East: no people more misunderstood than the Arabs. In this definitive masterwork, distinguished Oxford historian Albert Hourani offers the most lucid, enlightening history ever written on the subject. From the rise of Islam to the Palestinian issue, from the Prophet Mohammed to Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. A History of the Arab Peoples chronicles the rich...
Recommended by Eugene Rogan, Tarek Osman, and 2 others.

Eugene RoganHourani picked up on Khaldun’s cyclical notion of the rise and fall of Arab empires, and these almost Weberian notions of loyalty, as the key themes with which to weave a history of the Arab peoples. (Source)

Tarek OsmanThe key illuminating point is how the culture that has emerged in that part of the world has gathered those people and really united them by a common thread. (Source)

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Account of war in the late-20th century both as historical document and as an eyewitness testament to human savagery. Written by one of Britain's foremost journalists, this book combines political analysis and war reporting: it is an epic account of the Lebanon conflict by an author who has personally witnessed the carnage of Beirut for over a decade. Fisk's book recounts the details of a terrible war but it also tells a story of betrayal and illusion, of Western blindness that had led inevitably to political and military catastrophe. Fisk's book gives us a further insight into this troubled... more
Recommended by Eugene Rogan, and 1 others.

Eugene RoganFisk writes the most compassionate and engaging prose about his own experiences in Lebanon. As a journalist he seems to get underneath the skin of that society better than just about anyone I know. And it’s a book I relate to very personally, having lived for five years in Lebanon and having been forced to leave the country because of the outbreak of the civil war. So I felt very close to his... (Source)

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Great Britain ruled Palestine from 1917 to 1948. The British presence replaced 500 years of Turkish control and led to the State of Israel, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998. The British brought Palestine into the 20th century: when they arrived the country lay in a Levantine nirvana; by the time they left it had become the arena for one of the century's major international conflicts. less
Recommended by Eugene Rogan, Michael Goldfarb, and 2 others.

Eugene RoganThe irony of the title is, of course, that Palestine was made, by the British, into a twice-contested land: between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Zionist immigrants. (Source)

Michael GoldfarbBoth groups in Palestine had a major bone to pick with the colonial power – Britain. And there was a fair amount of terrorism from both camps. (Source)

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An Imam In Paris

Al-Tahtawi's Visit To France 1826-1831

This is an annotated translation of al-Tahtawi' s "Takhlis al-Ibriz fi Talkhis Bariz," the first translation of an in-depth Arabic account of a visit to Western Europe by a Muslim from the Near East. In addition to its historical and literary value, the book offers invaluable insight into misconceptions about the continent and the ' other', and the disorientation that follows a descent into a new world. Its ideas and notions are as vibrant and palpable as they were over 150 years ago.
Recommended by Eugene Rogan, and 1 others.

Eugene RoganAl-Tahtawi was sent by the ruler of Egypt as the chaplain of an educational mission to France. The aim of the mission was to train young Egyptians in the languages and the arts and the sciences that had made Europe so strong in that first quarter of the 19th century. And he was a very insightful observer, who presents us with a pretty unique example of an Arab or Muslim traveller describing the... (Source)

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Travel In Syria And The Holy Land

Johann Ludwig (also known as John Lewis, Jean Louis) Burkhardt (1784-1817) was a Swiss traveller, geographer and orientalist, best known for rediscovering the ruins of the ancient Nabataean city of Petra in Jordan. After studying at Leipzig and Gottingen universities he travelled to England in 1806 hoping to join the civil service but was unsuccessful. Instead he took employment with the African Association, a club founded in 1788 whose mission was to discover the origin and course of the Niger River and the location of Timbuktu. In preparation for an expedition calling for an overland... more
Recommended by Eugene Rogan, and 1 others.

Eugene RoganBurckhardt really was the original Lawrence of Arabia, the Westerner who goes out to the Middle East, studies Arabic, dresses in the local fashion, and travels right through the Arab world. And he came away with a depth of understanding about the people among whom he travelled that was just unsurpassed in its day. Burckhardt was actually preparing himself not to be an Orientalist and Middle... (Source)

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