21 “Best” Books in Middle East Studies, a survey

The survey was compiled at the MES Center at the American University in Cairo using selections sent in by fifty-two professors in the field of Middle East studies. Concerning background information, the goal of the survey was to find the Middle East studies books most highly recommended by professors in the field. All told, fifty-two professors sent their lists to us and from these recommendations the MES Center compiled the following list of the 21 “Best” Books in Middle East studies:

1. Orientalism
Edward Said, 1978

2. The Old Social Classes and the Revoltionary Movements of Iraq
Hanna Batatu, 1978

3. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age
Albert Hourani, 1962

4. A History of the Arab Peoples
Albert Hourani, 1991

5. The Venture of Islam
Marshall Hodgson, 1975

6. Colonising Egypt
Timothy Mitchell, 1988

7. The Mantle of the Prophet
Roy Mottahedeh, 1986 

8. Contending Visions of the Middle East
Zachary Lockman, 2004

9. Women and Gender in Islam
Leila Ahmed, 1992

10. The Emergence of Modern Turkey
Bernard Lewis, 1961

11. Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East
Nazih Ayubi, 1995

12. A Political Economy of the Middle East
Alan Richards & John Waterbury, 1990

13. A History of Islamic Societies
Ira Lapidus, 1988

14. Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity
Timothy Mitchell, 2002

15. Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria
Lisa Wedeen, 1999 

16. The Muqaddimah
Ibn Khaldun, 1377 (Rosenthal transl.)

17. A Peace to End All Peace
David Fromkin, 1989

18. Armed Struggle & the Search for State
Yezid Sayigh, 1997

19. State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East
Roger Owen, 1992

20. Society of the Muslim Brothers
Richard Mitchell, 1969

21. Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy
Michael Hudson, 1977


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