An Introduction to the Modern Middle East

History, Religion, Political Economy, Politics


David S. Sorenson

Second Edition • December 3, 2013 • 560 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813349220 • $47.00 USD$53.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813349237 • $33.99 USD$43.99 CAN

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Combining elements of comparative politics with a country-by-country analysis, author David S. Sorenson provides a complete and accessible introduction to the modern Middle East. With an emphasis on the politics of the region, the text also dedicates chapters specifically to the history, religions, and economies of countries in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. In each country chapter, a brief political history is followed by discussions of democratization, religious politics, women’s issues, civil society, economic development, privatization, and foreign relations.

In this updated and revised second edition, An Introduction to the Modern Middle East includes new material on the Arab Spring, the changes in Turkish politics, the Iranian nuclear issues, and the latest efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma. Introductory chapters provide an important thematic overview for each of the book’s individual country chapters and short vignettes throughout the book offer readers a chance for personal reflection.


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David S. Sorenson is professor of national security studies at the US Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Professor Sorenson formerly served on the faculties of Denison University, The Mershon Center at Ohio State University, where he also was a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. The author or editor of numerous works on Middle East politics, defense budget politics, and national security affairs, Professor Sorenson has also served as Chair of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association, and Chair of the International Security and Arms Control Section of the American Political Science Association.

Part I: The Historical, Religious, Economic, and Political Foundations of the Middle East
1. The Modern History of the Middle East
2. Religion in the Middle East
3. The Political Economy of the Middle East
4. Politics in the Middle East

Part II: The Countries of the Arabian Peninsula and Arabian Gulf Area
5. Saudi Arabia
6. The Persian Gulf Emirates
7. Yemen
8. Iran
9. Iraq

Part III: The Countries of the Eastern Mediterranean
10. Egypt
11. Turkey
12. Syria
13. Lebanon
14. Israel
15. Jordan
16. Palestine

Part IV: The Countries of North Africa
17. Tunisia
18. Libya
19. Morocco
20. Algeria

“This is no ordinary textbook on the Middle East. It has a story to tell, and does so by evoking images and providing anecdotes that are culturally sensitive and insightful. This book is rich in content. It draws on religion, politics, economics, and geography to provide a comprehensive and balanced analytical perspective. I will definitely use it in my classrooms, and recommend it to anyone interested in the Middle East.”
—Hamoud Salhi, California State University, Dominguez Hills

“This is a superbly tailored introductory survey of the contemporary Middle East. It is comprehensive, well written, sufficiently rigorous, and remarkably objective. Students will find its thematic framework a great help as they analyze and compare over sixteen country case studies. Sorenson’s creative approach and impeccable scholarship in this text are sure to set the standards for years to come.”
—Abdalla M. Battah, Minnesota State University, Mankato

“The book’s topics, approach, historical, political, and cultural perspective is reason enough for adoption in schools. […] An Introduction to the Modern Middle East is a meaningful introductory exposure to the Middle East and North Africa for students. It should motivate all to want to learn more; what could be a better recommendation for a book?”
—David Kenneth Waldman, Colorado State University Global Campus, Middle East Media and Book Reviews

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