This week I visited with some of my friends and others in the Washington DC area who are Middle East area experts (in the USAF) and I asked them for recommendations for books about the Middle East and Islam. I recently finished “Faith at War” by Yaroslav Trofimov and enthusiastically recommend it. These are other book recommendations they suggested which I’ve added to my own Amazon wish list, and hope to read at some point soon:

  1. The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf (no Kindle version yet)
  2. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin (no Kindle version yet)
  3. Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey by Fouad Ajami (Kindle version IS available)
  4. The Arab Predicament: Arab Political Thought and Practice since 1967 by Fouad Ajami (no Kindle version yet)
  5. Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong (Kindle version IS available)

I also plan to read “Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide to the Muslim Holy Book” by Mateen Elass soon as well. Mateen grew up in Saudi Arabia and is the pastor at our church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He spoke at the 2010 Men’s Conference at Mo Ranch on things many Christians don’t know about the Quran and the Muslim faith, and has an amazing knowledge of the culture and people of the Middle East as well as Islam.

Have you read any superb books about the Middle East or Islam that you’d recommend? Years ago I read “Caravans” by James Michener. I was interested to see Amazon now lists this book title as “Caravans: A Novel of Afghanistan.” I haven’t been thorough at this point in my use of Google Books, but have added a few books to “My Google Books Library.” I’ve invested slightly more time adding books to my profile on Goodreads, but haven’t settled on ONE book sharing site to really invest time adding, rating and reviewing books. I’ve dabbled only briefly with Shelfari. I suppose at some point I should “decide” which of these book sites to make my primary space for sharing books. Have you settled on a book sharing site that you love and recommend to others?

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5 Responses to More book recommendations about the Middle East and Islam

  1. Jeri Hurd says:

    Hi Wes:

    Leila Ahmed’s A Border Passage (about growing up in pre-and post Nassar Egypt) is absolutely lyrical. I taught it to my 11th graders in Cairo. She also wrote Women and Gender in Islam, which is good.

    The New Intifada, with its pro-Palestinian bias, gives a good non-Western view of events there. Edited by one of the guys at The Nation, I believe.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Great, Jeri – thanks! I’ve added this to my reading list as well. If others are interested in links, here they are:

    1. A Border Passage: From Cairo to America–A Woman’s Journey by Leila Ahmed
    2. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate by Leila Ahmed
    3. The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid by Roane Carey
  3. Kansan says:

    Choose Good Reads — because I use it & I love it.
    Will you be my friend there? I didn’t know you were using it.
    Welcome home!

  4. Joe says:

    While you are studying Islam, you should not confine yourself to just books, there are many Islamic themed films from the Middle East that really give you a sense for the people and the politics of the region in a different way than a book would. A simple search on what’s been considered in the last 25 years for academy awards for foreign films would bring you quite a sampling of the culture and people.

  5. Like you, I’ve been unable to “commit” myself to either Shelfari or Goodreads. In the meantime I’ve been using the weRead app on Facebook to share my reading. It crossposts to my Twitter account.

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