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Extended Audio Sample A History of the Arab Peoples Audiobook, by Albert Hourani Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 53.77 out of 5 3.77 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Albert Hourani Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781538462430
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Despite the turmoil of Arab nationalism and fundamentalism, Middle Eastern wars, and oil crises, the history of the Arab world has been little known and poorly understood in the West. One reason may be that, for more than half a century, there has been no up-to-date single-volume work that chronicles the story of Arab civilization—until now.

Albert Hourani, distinguished historian and interpreter, has written a masterwork, a panoramic view encompassing twelve centuries of Arab history and culture. He looks at all sides of this rich and venerable civilization, including the beauty of the Alhambra and the great mosques, the importance attached to education, the achievements of Arab science—but also internal conflicts, widespread poverty, the role of women, and the contemporary Palestinian question.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This book by one of the most distinguished scholars of the Arab world and the Middle East is a splendid achievement that can be read with profit by rank beginners and jaded specialists. It is, moreover, written with the grace and wisdom that those who know Mr. Hourani's works have come to expect…This is history in the grand style. It can lead to a better understanding of the Arabs, past and present.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This is a brilliant book, perhaps a landmark. It radiates the penetrating light of Albert Hourani’s massive erudition upon what he calls the ‘deeply disturbed societies’ of the Arab world…Hourani is able to explain, concisely, matters of surpassing difficulty which must be understood in order to make sense of contemporary events…[A] rich and often gripping book.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Mr. Hourani is one of the few scholars capable of writing a worthwhile history of the Arabs…He covers not only political history but culture, society, economy, and thought; and this distillation of a lifetime's scholarship is the book’s greatest virtue.”

    Economist

  • “[An] elegantly written study…[Hourani] delivers a grand story in a deceptively quiet and gentle tone of voice; a vision of the great journey of the Arab peoples.”

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “There is something deeply reassuring and even redemptive about this very fine book…It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this book for this time. Here at last is a genuinely readable, genuinely responsive history of the Arabs…[Hourani] completely controls the best in modern as well as traditional Western scholarship and often lets the Arabs, their poets, historians, sages and ordinary people speak along with, rather than against, that learning.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • A History of the Arab Peoples is an incomparable masterpiece of historical research and writing…[Wanda McCaddon], and her melodious voice, compliments Hourain’s writing style. In addition, her tongue effortlessly slides over the Arabic transliterations, and names that dot this momentous book.”

    Large Print Reviews

  • “Written by a master historian, this work is now the definitive study of the Arab peoples.”

    Library Journal

  • “The wonderful [Wanda McCaddon] is her wondrous best in this outstanding production of Hourani’s expansive history of Arab culture, history, and religion. The text is a curative to the general Western ignorance of Islam, its long and troubled history with Western nations and with Christianity and Judaism, and its sense of mission—cultural, historical, and religious—in challenging the West. It is in one volume an entry, like the storybooks of childhood, into a strange and miraculous realm. For all of this, May is the ideal reader. Her unfailing command of pace, nuance, and textual value has an authority that matches Hourani’s own, and listening to this vast reconstruction, which stretches from ancient times into our own, is like hearing History’s own voice, ageless and omniscient, high above the fray. As in her transcendent narrations of works by Barbara Tuchman, May validates here the claim of the audiobook not just to stand shoulder to shoulder with the text—but like theater or film—to stand apart as a unique genre and interpretation. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award in 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nadiya | 2/20/2014

    " Fascinating so far - party because I knew so little about the Arabic countries before. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ilango | 2/9/2014

    " An indispensable reference for readers on the Middle East who want a bird eye view. Naturally it's not possible for anyone to write a definitive account of this incomprehensible region. Therefore one would find blind spots in certain areas that have to be filled with material from other sources. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 1/27/2014

    " Excellent overview and just enough detail on seminal historical periods and events... Rare to find an Arab historian writing with such objectivity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 1.1 | 1/23/2014

    " As exhausting as it was to read this packed tome, it was worth it for the sheer amount of information. Stylistically it is a bit dry, to be sure, but that's more of a non-issue in this kind of work, where there is a lot of ground to cover. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Yuan | 1/20/2014

    " It's a great one to read if you're interested and have a background in middle eastern history. Can be very slow and drawn out with confusing references if you're not already familiar with the topic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrew | 1/1/2014

    " A decent general overview of Arab history. While this was a good book in many respects, I think I was hoping for something more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ramey Moore | 12/25/2013

    " Best history of the Arabs ever published. Hourani's works have stood the test of time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele | 12/14/2013

    " Lots of good information but very dry. History doesn't have to be boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sikander | 12/7/2013

    " A very fine read to understand Arab history. To see today's problem, one has to look into the past and this book surely does that! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dylan Suher | 11/28/2013

    " Poorly organized, way too general: he could have said anything and it'd have been difficult to verify. This was probably useful as a textbook for a course thirty years ago, but I'd skip it if you're just reading for personal edification... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 8/25/2013

    " Every paragraph is packed with information. Don't blink, you'll miss something. Totally thorough and filled with stuff you did not learn in World History 101. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason Larimer | 1/2/2013

    " I should probably give this more than three stars. I half-forgot about this book until I saw it in my recommended book list. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 harun | 11/22/2012

    " amazing historian, amazing book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ben Levy | 10/11/2012

    " Hard to read as a non-adherent. I loved that he dove deeply in not only the political Middle East but the cultural heritage as well. However his lengthy discussions of the formation of modern theological thought, while certainly important, had me skimming and then skipping while sections completely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordan Bradford | 9/24/2012

    " What I loved about this is how it gives valuable insights and answers to a Western audience while covering a broad swath of history while still being readable. Highly recommended . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen | 8/1/2012

    " Very in depth look at the history of Islam and the Middle East. Difficult but worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomas | 3/14/2012

    " Great intro to a complicated topic. Hourani is a gifted writer and scholar. Often it's hard to follow, but it's 1500 years in 500 pages so...yeah. Also, almost no mention of the Armenian genocide. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dermott Hayes | 1/22/2012

    " Comprehensive, exhaustive and insightful "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kieran | 12/18/2011

    " The writing is pretty dry (no pun intended), but it is a perfect survey of the history of a much-maligned people. Lessons for our own erstwhile-preeminent society abound. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mahin | 12/15/2011

    " Readable, an excellent overview but not cursory, clearly presented, can be used as a textbook: you can go back to this book any time... I personally did not read this in a start-to-finish fashion, but just read random bits that I was interested in. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Eppenstein | 11/12/2011

    " A very readable history of the Arab people and their faith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erik Graff | 9/9/2011

    " I believe this book was recommended by a secular Muslim friend who loaned me her copy. It was, remarkably, the first book about Arab history as a whole that I'd ever read and is designed for Anglo-Americans who aren't very familiar with Arab history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valdeir | 6/2/2011

    " Required book for an Islamic Civilization course that I've taken at San Francisco State University. I've read only the portion about the Ottoman Empire. It gives a good informative explanation of the empire itself. However, I felt that the manner in which it is explained its a bit too technical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leonard Pierce | 5/26/2011

    " Hourani's book is one of the best overall omnibus views of the development of Arab culture and religion, thorough and neither forgiving nor condemning. Well worth reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dylan | 9/29/2010

    " Poorly organized, way too general: he could have said anything and it'd have been difficult to verify. This was probably useful as a textbook for a course thirty years ago, but I'd skip it if you're just reading for personal edification... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erik | 6/16/2010

    " I believe this book was recommended by a secular Muslim friend who loaned me her copy. It was, remarkably, the first book about Arab history as a whole that I'd ever read and is designed for Anglo-Americans who aren't very familiar with Arab history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 2/24/2010

    " Whew. A book jam-packed with info. Makes for some dry reading, though. Maybe it's because of all those deserts. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele | 2/19/2010

    " Lots of good information but very dry. History doesn't have to be boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andre | 1/22/2010

    " I probably learn more about the Arabs from one reading of this book then from 65 years of reading newspapers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 1/15/2010

    " Excellent. Dense with information; overwhelming at times but reveals the heart and soul of the Arab peoples. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 11/28/2009

    " A treasure chest of information and cultural insights into the Arab world. "

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About the Author

Albert Hourani (1915–1993) was born in Manchester, England. He attended Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics. In 1948 he was offered a fellowship at Magdalen College and, three years later, took up the post of first university lecturer in the modern history of the Near East, becoming director of the Middle East Centre at St. Antony’s College in 1958.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.