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Download What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,264 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bernard Lewis Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2002 ISBN: 9781415904855
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For many centuries, the world of Islam was in the forefront of human achievement—the foremost military and economic power in the world, the leader in the arts and sciences of civilization. Christian Europe, a remote land beyond its northwestern frontier, was seen as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn or to fear. And then everything changed, as the previously despised West won victory after victory, first in the battlefield and the marketplace, then in almost every aspect of public and even private life.

In this intriguing volume, Bernard Lewis examines the anguished reaction of the Islamic world as it tried to understand why things had changed—how they had been overtaken, overshadowed, and to an increasing extent dominated by the West. Lewis provides a fascinating portrait of a culture in turmoil. He shows how the Middle East turned its attention to understanding European weaponry and military tactics, commerce and industry, government and diplomacy, education and culture. Lewis highlights the striking differences between the Western and Middle Eastern cultures from the 18th to the 20th centuries through thought-provoking comparisons of such things as Christianity and Islam, music and the arts, the position of women, secularism and the civil society, the clock and the calendar.

Hailed in the New York Times Book Review as “the doyen of Middle Eastern studies,” Bernard Lewis is one of the West’s foremost authorities on Islamic history and culture. In this striking volume, he offers an incisive look at the historical relationship between the Middle East and Europe.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rich | 2/20/2014

    " The title is misleading and i told Mr lewis that when I met him at a conference in 2006. He concede the point and said the publishers came up with the title because they thought it would sell better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John-paul Pagano | 2/19/2014

    " Pace the preening epigones of Edward Said, Lewis makes some interesting points about the historical and cultural factors that have contributed to political pathology in the Middle East. Too bad he does this in soporific and wandering prose. Save this for one of your manic phases. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 2/18/2014

    " A must read- those who think the answer is nothing.... there are no words.... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark Becher | 2/11/2014

    " This book is mostly a condensation of the themes found in Lewis' larger work History of the Middle East. It focuses mostly on the time period of the Ottoman Empire to the present day, and it has significantly less historical detail. To any interested in the history of the region, I would recommend the larger work instead. A condensation of a "brief history of the last 2000 years" (as he calls his History of the Middle East) is so brief as not to be worth the time invested in reading it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sebastian Cosgrove | 2/8/2014

    " Read for research. Good intro into the topic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Griffith | 2/7/2014

    " Insightful book. Helped me understand Islamic culture from antiquity through to the modern era; particularly at it relates to the treatment of women, technological advances (or lack thereof), scientific discoveries, and refusal to acknowledge the truth of advancement despite the grave consequences. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tanner Welsh | 2/6/2014

    " interesting analysis of the consolidation of geopower among european states and the decline of functional autonomous societies in the middle east. not a very diverse perspective though. i thought the title was meant to be mildly sarcastic, or at least that what was "wrong" was colonization, but it turns out that he seems to think of the "isolationism" of the arabic world as being wrong. doesn't really address the relevant cultural histories behind a resistance to modernization as it is defined by the western world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly Callahan | 1/30/2014

    " not as good as crisis of Islam "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel Kukwa | 1/17/2014

    " It was much drier and more repetitive than I thought it would be...but in the end, Bernard Lewis makes his case with alacrity. Even music is used as powerful backing for Lewis' thesis. This should be required reading for any student of contemporary & Middle Eastern studies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sam | 1/12/2014

    " I was hoping from the title that this book would clearly spell out "what went wrong," but alas, the book intends for you to figure that out from the historical background provided. I guess I was hoping for some more clarity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 1/11/2014

    " Excellent scholarship. Difficult read. It is worth the time and effort. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martha | 12/21/2013

    " I hope Lewis is not "the West's greatest. . .interpreter of the Near East" since he apparently believes that what went wrong with the Arabs is essentially what you might call poor protoplasm. Not unbiased historical interpretation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 11/27/2013

    " Will report later when done. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katharinesims | 11/23/2013

    " I had high hopes for this book. It should have been this crazy comprehensive book, highlighting all of these aspects you'd never though of (like a Jared Diamond book). I learned a few things, but the book was short, unambitious, and not that enlightening "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MS | 11/17/2013

    " very insightful look at the roots of the world's real culture war "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 R. Ira | 11/12/2013

    " I read this about three years ago and am re-reading it now. It gives a good background for understanding the background for what is currently going on in Afghanistan and the middle east. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 11/11/2013

    " Interesting to read- but Lewis tends to ramble "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 6/11/2013

    " "Extremely approachable history of the Islamic world and it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Vaca | 4/15/2013

    " The introduction is horribly written and makes you want to put down the book - but don't! It is great but you have to dedicate yourself to reading it (not a metro read). Reading in larger chunks makes it more understandable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susanne | 11/27/2012

    " Very interesting but it didn't quite answer the question for me. It seemed like there should have been something more. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 11/7/2012

    " I wish the author included more dates. It was hard to determine what happened when. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Painter | 7/22/2012

    " More information on the whole clash between islam and the west. Very informative. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Will Dewey | 7/4/2012

    " this is no great scholarship--my opinion of this book has declined quite a bit since I first read it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate Cooley | 5/11/2012

    " Bernard Lewis is the master Middle-Eastern historian alive today ... This book demonstrates that distinction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 3/4/2012

    " This is a great read if you want to learn at least a little bit about the world of Islam. (I admit I knew next to nothing.) I skimmed the first section on military affairs (not my area of interest) and focused on the social/cultural/economic (and of course religious) issues. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Blake | 9/30/2011

    " This book doesn't actually describe the reasons things went wrong, but rather describes the symptoms. In describing the problems and attempted solutions it is a reasonably good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 6/29/2011

    " Worth reading to provide context to modern problems. Focus especially on the conclusion. Also provides good coverage of the basic elements of Islam. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly | 6/22/2011

    " not as good as crisis of Islam "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 4/6/2011

    " While I can agree with the basic principles, I think he leans a bit too much on Islam, and not enough on the kingdoms, sheikdoms, and empires that history used as their excuse for poor performance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ewing | 4/3/2011

    " Excellent primer on the Middle East, written by the undisputed expert on the Arab (and Persian) world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 2/28/2011

    " I thought this was going to be very boring but insightful. I was wrong on the first and right on the second. This is a short read (or listen as I did) and very interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 1/10/2011

    " Seemed okay. I just can't finish nonfiction... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 1/7/2011

    " This gave me a lot of insight into a culture I understood little of. A good primer for people wanting to understand Islam and the Middle East better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louise | 12/29/2010

    " Read this book in 2004. Can't recall much - Another one to re-read. "

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About the Author
Author Bernard LewisBernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist; The Emergence of Modern Turkey; The Arabs in History; and What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, among other books. Lewis is internationally recognized as one of our era’s greatest historians of the Middle East. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages, including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Indonesian. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
About the Narrator

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is also an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.