A History of the Modern Middle East

William L. Cleveland, Martin Bunton

Sixth Edition • July 12, 2016 • 600 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813349800 • $55.00 USD$71.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350370 • $35.99 USD$35.99 CAN

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“This excellent survey has been used in many colleges and universities as a standard text since its first edition…In this particularly turbulent period of history, this book should be of interest not only to students, but also to every citizen who has to make some judgment, one way or another, about the US role in the Middle East.”

A History of the Modern Middle East examines the profound and often dramatic transformations of the region in the past two centuries, from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the challenge of Western imperialism, to the impact of US foreign policies. Built around a framework of political history, while also carefully integrating social, cultural, and economic developments, this expertly crafted account provides readers with the most comprehensive, balanced and penetrating analysis of the modern Middle East.

The sixth edition has been revised to provide a thorough account of the major developments since 2012, including the tumultuous aftermath of the Arab uprisings, the sectarian conflict in Iraq and civil war in Syria that led to the rise of ISIS, the crises in Libya and Yemen, and the United States’ nuclear talks with Iran. With brand-new timelines in each part, updated select bibliographies, and expanded online instructor resources, A History of the Modern Middle East remains the quintessential text for courses on Middle East history.

Instructor Resources

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The late William L. Cleveland was professor of history at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia.

Martin Bunton is professor of history at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He is the author of The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction.

List of Illustrations
Preface to the Sixth Edition
A Note About Place Names and Transliteration

PART ONE: The Development of Islamic Civilization to the Eighteenth Century
1. The Rise and Expansion of Islam
Pre-Islamic Arabia
Muhammad and the Foundations of Islam
The Arab Conquests and the First Empire
The First Civil War and the End of the Rashidun Caliphate
From Arab Exclusivism to Islamic Universalism: The Umayyad and Abbasid Empires

2. The Development of Islamic Civilization to the Fifteenth Century
Patterns of Islamic History
The Creation and Uses of Wealth
Islamic Rituals and Institutions
Two Versions of Leadership: Sunni Caliph and Shi‘a Imam
The Middle East from the Eleventh to the Fifteenth Centuries: An Overview

3. The Ottoman and Safavid Empires: A New Imperial Synthesis
The Rise of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Ruling Institutions and Attitudes
The Loss of Ottoman Superiority
The Triumph of Shi‘ism: The Safavid Empire of Iran, 1501–1736
Conclusion: The Sunni-Shi‘a Struggle for Iraq

PART TWO: The Beginnings of the Era of Transformation
4. Forging a New Synthesis: The Pattern of Reforms, 1789–1849
Selim III (1789–1806: Between Old and New
A Revived Center of Power: The Egypt of Muhammad Ali, 1805–1848
Nationalism and Great Power Intervention: The Greek Revolt, 1821–1829
Sultan Mahmud II (1808–1839): Centralization and Transformation

5. The Ottoman Empire and Egypt During the Era of the Tanzimat
The Tanzimat: Continued Ottoman Reform Under the Bureaucrats
The Arab Provinces of Greater Syria During the Tanzimat
Egypt During the Era of Civilian Reform
Conclusion: The Dualism of the Nineteenth-Century Reforms

6. Egypt and Iran in the Late Nineteenth Century
England on the Nile: The British Occupation of Egypt, 1882–1914
Iran During the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

7. The Response of Islamic Society
Religious Assertiveness and Authoritarian Reform: The Era of Abdul Hamid II
Islamic Puritanism on the Tribal Frontiers: The Wahhabi, Sanusi, and Mahdiyyah Movements
The Reform of High Islam
Emerging Currents of Arab Cultural Distinctiveness

8. The Era of the Young Turks and the Iranian Constitutionalists
The Revolt of 1908 and the Young Turks in Power
The Period of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution

9. World War I and the End of the Ottoman Order
The Middle East in World War I: An Overview of Military and Diplomatic Initiatives
The Peace Settlement
Conclusion: The End of the Ottoman Order in the Middle East

PART THREE: The Struggle for Independence: The Interwar Era to the End of World War II
10. Authoritarian Reform in Turkey and Iran
The Atatürk Era in Turkey
Iran under Reza Shah
Turkey and Iran During World War II: Sovereignty and Occupation

11. The Arab Struggle for Independence: Egypt, Iraq, and Transjordan from the Interwar Era to 1945
The Struggle for Power in Egypt in the Interwar Period
An Overview of World War II
Egypt During World War II: Pivot of the British Defense System
Iraq Between the Wars
Iraq During World War II
Transjordan: The Desert Mandate

12. The Arab Struggle for Independence: Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia from the Interwar Era to 1945
The French Mandate in Syria and Lebanon
Lebanon under the Mandate: The Establishment of Confessional Politics
Syria and Lebanon During World War II: The Troubled Path to Independence
New Kingdom in Arabia: The Rise of the Saudi State
The Search for Identity: Regionalism, Arabism, Islam

13. The Palestine Mandate and the Birth of the State of Israel
The Emergence of Political Zionism
The Balfour Declaration
The Mandate for Palestine: British Administration
The Palestinian Arab Community: Leadership and Institutions
The Jewish Community: Leadership and Institutions
Immigration and Lands
Communal Conflict and the British Response
World War II and the Birth of the State of Israel
The First Arab-Israeli War

PART FOUR: The Independent Middle East from the End of World War II to the 1970s
14. Democracy and Authoritarianism: Turkey and Iran
The Role of the United States in the Postwar Years
Turkey: The Transition to a Multiparty System
Turkish Foreign Policy and the Cyprus Question
Iran: The Reestablishment of Royal Autocracy

15. The Middle East in the Age of Nasser: The Egyptian Base
The Paralysis of the Old Regime, 1945–1952
The Free Officers and the Cou D’État of 1952
Foreign Relations after 1952
The Adoption of Arab Socialism

16. The Middle East in the Age of Nasser: The Radicalization of Arab Politics
Syria: The Military in Politics
Iraq: The End of the Monarchy
The Hasimite Kingdom of Jordan: The Survival of Monarchy
Lebanon: The Precarious Sectarian Balance
Israel, The Arab States, and the June War
Conclusion: The Nasser Era in Perspective

17. Israel and the Palestinians from 1948 to the 1970s
The Israeli Political System and Political Culture
The Elections of 1977: Israel in Transition
The Palestinian Factor after 1948

PART FIVE: The Resurgence of Islam: The Middle East from the 1970s to the 1991 Gulf War
18. The Iranian Revolution and the Revival of Islam
The Stages of Revolution in Iran
The Revival of Islam

19. Changing Patterns of War and Peace: Egypt and Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s
Egypt Under Sadat: Domestic and Diplomatic Realignments
The Lebanese Civil War, 1975–1990
Egypt in the 1980s

20. The Arabian Peninsula in the Petroleum Era
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Kuwait, Oman, and the Smaller Gulf States

21. The Consolidation of Authoritarian Rule in Syria and Iraq: The Regimes of Hafiz al-Asad and Saddam Husayn
Syria in the Al-Asad Era
Iraq in the Era of Saddam Husayn and the Ba‘th
The Iran-Iraq War, 1980–1988

PART SIX: Challenges to the Existing Order: The Middle East in the 1990s and 2000s
22. The Palestinian Intifada and the 1991 Gulf War
The Intifada from 1987 to 1991
The Gulf Crisis of 1990–1991
The Aftermath of the Gulf War

23. A Peace So Near, a Peace So Far: Palestinian-Israeli Relations Since the 1991 Gulf War
The Road to the Oslo Peace Accords
The Unraveling of the Oslo Peace Process
The Road from Taba

24. Patterns of Continuity and Change in Turkey, Iran, and Lebanon
Turkey and Iran: Nations at a Crossroads
Hizbullah and the Struggle for Lebanon

25. America’s Troubled Moment in the Middle East
The Policy of Dual Containment
Al-Qa‘Ida and the Attacks of September 11, 2001
The Occupation of Iraq
Iran’s Nuclear Program

26. The 2011 Arab Uprisings and Their Aftermath
Understanding the Uprisings’ Dynamics
Yemen and Libya
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies
Conclusion: Connecting Threads

List of Major Rulers
Select Bibliography

“A complete course of instruction under one cover, ‘A History of the Modern Middle East’ is an ideal and highly recommended textbook for college and university Middle East Studies courses. Enhanced with new time lines in each part, updated select bibliographies, and expanded online instructor resources, ‘A History of the Modern Middle East’ remains the quintessential text and is a ‘must’ for both community and academic library Middle East Studies collections.” –Midwest Book Review

Praise for Previous Editions
“For almost thirty years, I have depended on Cleveland and Bunton’s textbook as the anchor of my course on the history of the modern Middle East. It is, to my mind, the very best and most teachable text available.”
—Lidwien Kapteijns, Kendall/Hodder Professor of History, Wellesley College

“One of the most balanced and comprehensive textbooks that exists on Middle Eastern history.”
—Sreemati Mitter, Brown University

“Cleveland and Bunton provide a comprehensive history of the Middle East that allows students to understand the decisions of the principal political actors and the results of major events and crises. It has been an indispensable textbook for my survey on how and why the peoples of the Middle East deal with issues of democracy, religious and national identity as well as conflicting reactions toward Western intervention in a variety of forms.”
—Stacy E. Holden, Purdue University

“This book provides a comprehensive and compelling history of the modern Middle East and is an invaluable addition to any scholar’s library. The authors distill complex and multifaceted aspects of Middle Eastern history and culture for the reader while providing insightful and germane analysis.”
—Ellen R. Wald, Jacksonville University

“This volume is history in the best sense. … A superbly written analysis of the social and political disruptions of the Middle East. This updated volume does an excellent job of weaving together various strands of a complex subject in a coherent narrative. It is recommended reading for all serious students who want to understand how the Middle East got to where it is today.”
—Phebe Marr, author of The Modern History of Iraq and fellow at the U.S. Institute for Peace

“This is the best comprehensive survey of modern Middle East history in the literature. The authors excel at translating complex and controversial subject matter in a highly readable manner without sacrificing cogent and insightful analysis. I highly recommend it.”
—David W. Lesch, professor of Middle East History, Trinity University

“This excellent survey has been used in many colleges and universities as a standard text since its first edition…In this particularly turbulent period of history, this book should be of interest not only to students, but also to every citizen who has to make some judgment, one way or another, about the US role in the Middle East.”

“The book masterfully intertwines complex strands of history — from sectarian conflict in Lebanon to the Arab-Israeli conflicts, to the impact of oil wealth and the Iranian revolution. No other volume does this so well.”
—Elizabeth Thompson, History, University of Virginia

“Highly recommended for anyone interested in a remarkably well-crafted introduction to the history, politics, and international relations of the Middle East.”
International Journal

“Lucidly written, well researched and an ideal work of introduction and reference for students of the region.”
Middle Eastern Studies

“This survey of the history of the modern Middle East has been well received by scholars in the field. Sophisticated and stimulating…. Cleveland has contributed a well-balanced, well-researched, and well-planned introductory text for the study of the modern Middle East.”
—Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Turkish Studies Association Bulletin

“The difficulties of writing an introductory text on the modern Middle East have largely been overcome by William Cleveland in this lucid and impartial history. Perhaps the greatest virtue of the book is the author’s sympathetic detachment in his treatment of an ideologically charged history. Always measured in his assessments, Cleveland avoids lionizing and vilifying whether discussing the colonial experience, the rise of nationalism, the struggle for Palestine, the influence of Nasser or the Islamic resurgence.”
—Eugene Rogan, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

“Cleveland’s timely book is now the most comprehensive, up-to-date introduction to the history of the modern Middle East, and it is likely to remain so for a good long while. He does a marvelous job of rendering intelligible the complex political and social changes that the Middle East experienced in the past two centuries. Readers will be grateful to Cleveland for blending much of the best recent historical scholarship into this fine book and for making it eminently readable.”
—Philip S. Khoury, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“An excellent overview of the history of the modern Middle East. Eminently clear, comprehensive, and insightful. A truly superior book.”
—James Jankowski, University of Colorado

“Cleveland has put his recognized expertise on Arab nationalism and modern Islamic movements to particularly good use in this learned, sensitive, and highly readable account of the past two centuries of Middle Eastern history. The formidable task of combining thematic with country-by-country treatment is accomplished remarkably well.”
—Donald M. Reid, Georgia State University

“With the accuracy and balance that the scholar would insist on and with the spirited readability that the student would hope for, this is a fine interpretive study of the Middle East during the past two centuries. A richly textured history, it handles the challenge of highlighting the cultural unity characterizing the Middle East while also demonstrating the region’s diversity-political, religious, cultural, and economic.”
—L. Carl Brown, Princeton University

“Cleveland has written a cogent and comprehensive political history of the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, prefaced by a concise and readable introduction to Islamic history. He is particularly successful in pointing to the persistence and strength of traditional modes of thought and belief in bringing about the reassertion of Islamic identity in the face of the moral bankruptcy of contemporary Middle Eastern regimes and the disempowering pressures of everyday life…. this book should do much to demystify common misconceptions about this complex and frequently misunderstood region.”
—Peter Sluglett, Durham University

“A solid, well-written, and well-packed introductory text that will be easily accessible to inductees into modern Middle Eastern history…. Careful readers of Cleveland’s text will discover that in a quiet and persuasive manner the author challenges many popularly held beliefs and (mis)perceptions.”
International Journal of Middle East Studies

“Impressive political history…. Provides a brief but useful exposition of Islam and what the faithful believe is expected of them.”
New York Times Book Review

“Quite simply the best introduction to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Middle East available. Cleveland has set a new standard for Middle East historical synthesis that will be difficult to outdo.”
Journal of Palestine Studies

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