Top positive review
Thorough history of the Arab world in modern times.
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2018
A more-than-thorough history (500+ pages) of the Arab people from the defeat of the Mamluks by the Ottomans in 1516 until the present day. Eugene Rogan is an excellent writer, and despite its length, the book is not stuffy, boring or hard to read. Especially when you get to the modern era, which dominates the latter half of the book, Rogan is amazingly evenhanded and non-judgemental -- this is particularly impressive when you consider he is dealing with topics like the Arab-Israeli conflict and Palestinian rights and religious/sectarian conflicts in Lebanon and Syria. The book certainly added to my understanding of the current conflicts in the Middle East and how intractable the situation is.
I have one major complaint: the book needs an easily referred to, serious timeline. Because the book generally covers topics in a regional manner, it is hard to relate what is happening in Egypt, say, at the time of Sadat's assassination, with what is going on in Lebanon (civil war) or the Iraq-Iran war. A good timeline would increase my rating to 5-stars.
And as much as I liked this book and learned a lot, I have to say, I liked his other book, The Fall of the Ottomans, even more.