Latest addition to the bookshelves of the leading book shop in Peasedown St. John!
Category: History Middle East
Dreaming of Damascus: Arab Voices from a Region in Turmoil by Stephen Glain
London: John Murray, 2003
Hardback with Dust Jacket over Blue boards with Gilt titling to Spine
Illustrated by way of: Glossary; Review copy, with slip laid in; Black & White Photographs; Chronological Tables; Maps;
From the cover: A thousand years ago, a vast Arab empire stretched from the Asian steppe across the Mediterranean to Spain, pioneering new technologies, sciences, art and culture. Arab traders and Arab currencies dominated the global economy the way Western multinationals and the dollar do today. A thousand years later, Arab states are in decay. Official corruption and ineptitude have eroded state authority and created a vacuum that militant Islam with its schools, hospitals and other civil services has rushed to fill.
Glain takes us on a journey through the heart of what were once the great Islamic caliphates, the countries now known as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, to illustrate how a once-prosperous and enlightened civilization finds itself at a crossroad between Dark Age and New Dawn. As late as the 1900s, what we call the Levant was a prosperous trading bloc. By carving the region into proxy states and emirates after the World War I, the Western powers Balkanized and undermined the Levantine economy. That in turn prepared the ground for a regional autocracy that rejected economic openness and religious tolerance, qualities that had made the old Islamic caliphates great.
Today the Arab world has opted out of the global economy, with tragic consequences. It is up to the new generation of leaders and the Western governments that created the modern Middle East to reverse the sclerosis and revive the region.
More great books like this at BookLovers of Bath: economic conditions history eastern political structure