Year: 2013

Scherezade’s Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World

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By: Habeeb Salloum
Muna Salloum
Leila Salloum Elias

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Anne Meneley, PhD

Trent University

Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Difficult to classify, Scheherazade’s Feasts is part history, part cookbook, part conveyor of dozens of interesting tidbits of the medieval Arab world. Its focus is on the food of the elite, the ruling Caliphs of various medieval Arab dynasties, emanating from four principal centers: Baghdad and Aleppo under the Abbasids, Cairo under the Fatimids, Cordoba under the Ummayads, and Andalusia. Habeeb Salloum, one of the co-authors, along with Muna Salloum and Leila Salloum Elias, is…

Cultural Conversions: Unexpected Consequences of Christian Missionary Encounters in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia

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By: Heather J. Sharkey, Editor

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Paul S. Rowe, PhD

Trinity Western University

Langley, BC, Canada

Popular perceptions of Christian mission activity in the colonial world are somewhat predictable. The association of missionaries with colonial authorities and Western cultural imperialism is widespread in both popular culture and academia. Take, for example, Barbara Kingsolver’s 1998 bestseller, The Poisonwood Bible which portrays the destruction of a missionary family amid a disastrous attempt to convert the people of 1960s Congo. In the past decade, revelations such as those about the deprivations that indigenous children…

A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations from the Origins to the Present Day

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By: Abdelwahab Meddeb
Benjamin Stora, Editor

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Michael McGaha, PhD

Pomona College

Claremont, CA

I have to say, first of all, that this is a very beautiful book. It is also a very important and timely one. The general editors, Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora (a Muslim from Tunisia, and a Jew from Algeria) state in the Introduction that their intention in compiling the book was to “prompt exchanges and dialogue” so that “each side will be in a position to make a final assessment of the contentious issues,…

Understanding the Contemporary Middle East

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By: illian Schwedler, Editor

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Dina Wafa

The American University in Cairo

Egypt

The fourth edition of Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, edited by Jillian Schwedler, offers a detailed overview of the region. As Schwedler states in her introduction, the book is intended for Western scholars to challenge their perceptions and misconceptions through an exploration of Middle East history, geography, culture, politics, economics, religion, and people. However, its detailed presentation also makes it quite useful in supplementing introductory studies of Middle Eastern scholars as well. This book has…

The Unseen War: Allied Air Power and the Takedown of Saddam Hussein

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By: Benjamin S. Lambeth

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Seth J. Frantzman, PhD

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel

The first Iraq Gulf War of 1991 included a prolonged air phase and has been studied thoroughly. However, the air power contribution to the second Gulf War of 2003 has largely been ignored. As Benjamin S. Lambeth notes in the opening to this important volume “the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom conducted in the spring of 2003 was a true joint and combined campaign by American, British and Australian air, land and maritime…

The Secret War for the Middle East: The Influence of Axis and Allied Intelligence Operations during World War II

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By: Youssef Aboul-Enein
Basil Aboul-Enein

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Josef Olmert, PhD

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC

Wars are a catalyst to changes, as big wars are to big changes. Clearly a truism in general, not without exceptions though, but not in the case of the Middle East, where the two world wars brought momentous changes, the effects of which have been felt, not just in the region itself, but rather throughout the entire world, and in many cases continue to be felt until our days. Youssef and Basil Aboul-Enein are not…

Fertile Bonds: Bedouin Class, Kinship, and Gender in the Bekaa Valley

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By: Suzanne E. Joseph

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Steven C. Dinero, PhD

Philadelphia University

Philadelphia, PA

Ethnographies about the changing lives of the Bedouin communities of the Middle East and North Africa have become relatively commonplace over the past few decades. Growing out of the Orientalist tradition of Patai, Musil, and Lawrence, the late 20th century saw a spate of these works, including, most notably, Emanuel Marx’s landmark monograph, Bedouin of the Negev (Praeger, 1967). No work of note considered the Bedouin of Lebanon, however–until now. This volume seeks to fill…

The Neighbors

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By: Ahmad Mahmoud

Translated By: Nastaran Kherad

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Cynthia Lindenmeyer, Rev. Dr.

American Public University

Charles Town, WVA

What is the human cost of oil production? After reading Ahmad Mahmoud’s The Neighbors, this haunting question resonates in my mind when I drive by gas stations surrounding American suburban neighborhoods. Extremely well written and thought-provoking, The Neighbors depicts a pivotal time in the life of Khaled, an adolescent boy coming of age during the turmoil of Iran’s struggle to nationalize its oil industry. Khaled’s story represents the undocumented accounts of Iranians in the mid-twentieth…

Slavery and Manumission: British Policy in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf in the First Half of the 20th Century.

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By: Jerzy Zdanowski

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Lynn Rigsbee, II, PhD

Central State University

Wilberforce, OH

Jerzy Zdanowski’s Slavery and Manumission: British Policy in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in the first half of the 20th Century contributes to the growing body of literature published since 2000 concerning the nature of slavery in the Middle East and Africa. This literature includes Kevin Grant’s A Civilized Slavery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884-1926 (Rutledge, 2004), Kenneth Morgan’s Slavery and the British Empire: From Africa to America (Oxford, 2008)…

Moon and Henna Tree

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By: Ahmed Toufiq

Translated By: Roger Allen

Volume: 1 Issue: 8

December 2013

Review by:

Issa Boullata, PhD

McGill University

Montreal, Canada

The author of this novel, Ahmed Toufiq, is the Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs for Morocco, and former director of the National Library. He has published several works on pre-modern Moroccan history and edited many religious and historical texts in this field. As a novelist, he brings to his fiction a rich knowledge of pre-modern Moroccan society. In this novel, he deals with the tribal society of the High Atlas region in pre-modern…

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