A Middle East Bibliography
Searchable data base and reviews of Middle East books


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Middle East Bibliography - Searchable Database of  Middle East Books

Searchable Book Database - Click here to find books by topic, country or title

This  page links to detailed bibliographies for each country in the Middle East as well as topical bibliographies about religions and sects, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, women and other special topics. In addition to the searchable database, we provide some short lists of recommended books about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, about Islam and the history of the Middle East and Iraq, and links to other bibliographies.

Your suggestions and reviews are welcome. The list is meant to provide a broad and balanced spectrum of views.

Topical Bibliographies:

The listings below together cover all current MidEastWeb book listings with some overlap.

Arab Middle East and North Africa

Bahai Religion

Copts and Assyrian Christians
Countries of the Middle East

The Holocaust

Islam-Middle Ages & Ottoman

Islam Today and Islamism

Israel and Palestine -

Mandate Palestine

Israel and Palestine Since 1880

Israel/Palestine before 1918

Palestine & Palestinians


Kurds & Kurdistan
Literature & Linguistics
Oil in the Middle East


War on Terror

Water and Environment

Women in the Middle East
Women in Judaism

If a book is in the list or data base, it does not necessarily mean MidEastWeb thinks it is a good book. For those seeking other bibliographies, there are links below to  smaller and more specialized ones in English. This listing does not include many valuable sources in Hebrew or Arabic or any periodicals.

Do not take information in  any book at face value and be sure to read opposing views and especially, read primary source documents where possible.

Note - The books listed below are only a small sample of the books in the data base - use the searchable data base or individual topic pages to find books quickly by topic, author title, country or period.

Click here to find books by topic, country or title

As a first bibliography, a very small number of books are listed below for:

Islam and the Arabs  


A Brief Bibliography of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Bregman, Ahron and Jihan El-Tahri, Israel and the Arabs, An Eyewitness account of War and Peace in the Middle East, NYC, TV Books, 1998. Based on the BBC/PBS TV documentary prepared for Israel's 50th anniversary, this book provides unique first-person interview materials. It is also unique because it is edited by an Israeli and an Arab who agreed about the content. Because of the nature of the approach - a TV documentary, the book provides a series of close-up vignettes rather than an exhaustive or scholarly history.

Chacour, Elias, Blood Brothers, Chosen Books, 1984. A Galilee priest tells of his fight for brotherhood and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Collins, Larry and La Pierre, Dominique, O Jerusalem, Touchstone Books, 1988. Gripping history that covers mostly the 1948 struggle for Jerusalem.. It is told with a distinct pro-Israel bias, but you will have trouble putting this book down no matter what your convictions, and it will help you understand a key issue in the conflict.

Harsgor, M. and Stroun M. Israel-Palestine: L'Histoire au-dela des mythes, Editions Metropolis, 1996 (also published in Hebrew by Givat Haviva  1997). If you can read Hebrew or French, this comprehensive and moderate book will give you a wealth of information about the Palestine-Israel conflict from a dovish Zionist standpoint.

Herzl, Theodore, The Jewish State, Dover Publications, 1989. Online Downloadable Book This little pamphlet was written by Theodore Herzl to help popularize the Zionist movement. It is available as a free downloadable e-book at MidEastWeb. It is essential reading to understand the mindset of the father of political Zionism.

Kimmerling, Baruch and Migdal, Joel S, The Palestinian People: A History, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2003.  This book is a valuable summary of the conflict as it evolved from the Palestinian side:
"This remarkable book recounts how the Palestinians came to be constituted as a people. The authors offer perceptive observations on the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the successes and failures of the Oslo process, and the prospects for both Palestinians and Israelis of achieving a peaceful future together. A dispassionate and balanced analysis that provides essential background for understanding the complexities of the Middle East." Rashid Khalidi, University of Chicago.  

Laquer, W. and Rubin, B. The Israel-Arab Reader, Penguin, 1995. Basic source documents in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Lewis, Bernard, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, Touchstone Books, 1997. Lewis is a highly regarded scholar and authority on Islam in the US. This account is essential for putting events in the Middle East into perspective.

Morris, Benny, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, Cambridge University Press, 1987. This book documents the role of the Israeli government and leadership in helping to create the Palestine refugee problem. It is not kind to Israel and Zionism, and it fails to  set context of the actions against the background of the Arab and Palestinian attempt to dismantle Israel and expel its Jewish inhabitants - a fault remedied in Righteous Victims.  However, it is so clearly the objective work of a professional historian that it must be accepted as factual whatever your sympathies. Morris's research formed the basis for numerous "Post-Zionist" histories critical of Israel. Most of these are derivative polemics that achieve their aims by selective quotes. It is worth reading the original if you want the truth.

Morris, Benny, Righteous Victims : A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999, Knopf, 2000. A balanced and readable history of Israeli-Palestinian relations, from which partisans of either side will draw their own conclusions, and those who seek truth will find that it is complicated and illusive. Morris documents the subjugation and humiliation of Jews under Islam, the miserable state of Palestine under Turkish rule, the plans by Zionists to force Arab immigration, the Nazi associations of the Mufti, the perfidy of the British against both sides, the flight and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs, and the history of each war. I f you are going to read one book about the Israel-Palestine conflict, read this one.

Oren, Michael , Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Oxford University Press, 2002. This book has won praise from both friends and foes of Israel, and is probably the best history of the war to date. "Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, deserves credit for producing the most detailed, the most comprehensive and by far the best-documented history that we have on this short but fateful war...Throughout the book, Oren uses the full panoply of sources in four European languages, Hebrew and Arabic. He is one of the first writers to take advantage of the thousands of official documents that were recently declassified under the 30-year rule. The products of this prodigious archival research, and of the interviews that Oren conducted with about 60 policy-makers, are used to very good effect. The result is a fast-moving and action-packed narrative that sheds a great deal of new light on all the major participants in the war and on the conflict and cooperation between them." Avi Shlaim in The Guardian http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,728941,00.html

Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. A comprehensive overview of the subject, told from the Zionist point of view. A good reference, but too detailed and compendious for casual reading by most.

Said, Edward, The Politics of Dispossession, Random House, 1994. Professor Said is probably the most able and distinguished spokesman of the Palestinian cause. This collection of essays presents  his positions regarding Israel and the Palestinians, as well as his differences over the years with Palestinian leadership.

Shlaim, Avi, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, W W Norton & Company; 1999. This book will complement the account in "Righteous Victims." It should not be the first book you read though. Shlaim has written the book to back a "post-Zionist" view of history, and his accounts are not always objective.

Tessler, Mark A. A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Indiana Series in Arab and Islamic Studies), Indiana Univ Press, 1994. A reasonably balanced and detailed history that is probably the best at presenting history as each side views it. Readers should be conscious that Tessler has omitted detailed discussion of the crucial 1948 war, which is in my opinion essential for understanding the formative factors of the character of Israel and the thinking of its leaders. Disproportionate emphasis is placed on the Holocaust. There are other faults of omission and commission, as well as some apparent errors of fact and misspellings of Middle Eastern terms. These prevent this book from being a definitive text, though it is apparently being used as such in American universities. However, it is almost readable despite its great volume, and provides numerous statistics and copious maps. 

Wasserstein, Bernard, Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City, Yale University Press, 2001. From the NYT Review of books (Amos Elon): Wasserstein shows how, despite all restrictive measures against Palestinians from a demographic point of view, the great effort to "Israelize" the city, the "united" city, is failing. He writes clearly and dispassionately on a theme that has been more cliché-ridden than most and long monopolized by propagandists and hucksters. He rightly assumes that even if the Jordanians had not opened hostilities in June 1967, Israel would probably have been unable to resist the temptation to take East Jerusalem. His book is the most sober and in many ways the fairest description I know of official positions and popular sentiments on both sides between 1967 and 1999.
Review: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14624

Weizmann, Haim, Trial and Error, Hamish Hamilton, 1949; Schocken, 1966. Haim Weizmann was instrumental in getting the British government to issue the Balfour Declaration in 1917, was head of the Zionist movement for many years, and the first President of Israel. His autobiography is an essential part of the history of political Zionism up to the creation of the state.

Mandate Palestine

Israel and Palestine Since 1918

Israel/Palestine before 1918

Palestine & Palestinians

Click here to find more books by topic, country or title

Current Commentary


Some key books on the Arab world, Islam and Islamism

Ajami, Fouad, Dream Palace of the Arabs : A Generation's Odyssey,Vintage, 1999. - An analysis of political change in the Arab world since 1967.

Antonius, Georges, The Arab Awakening, the Story of the Arab National Movement, Hamish Hamilton, 1945. A respected classic.

Darwish, Adel and Gregory Alexander, Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam's War, London, Diane, 1991.This fascinating book documents how the Saddam Hussein monster was created, and how the West, including the US encouraged his aggression until it was too late.

Esposito. John L.,  The Islamic Threat : Myth or Reality? (Third Edition) 1999. Esposito examines radical Islam and concludes that it is not a threat to democracy or the West.

Hourani, Albert, A History of the Arab Peoples, Harvard University Press, 1991. A respected classic.

Lewis, Bernard, The Arabs in History , Oxford University Press, 1993, 2002 Amazon   This classic study by one of the world's premier historians of the Middle East considers the achievement of the Arab peoples and their place in world history, from pre-Islamic times to the present-day.

Maalouf, Amin and Rotchschild, Jon,  The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, Schocken Books, 1989. Amazon

Telhami, Shibley, The Stakes: America and the Middle East, Westview Press, 2002.

Tibi, Bassam, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder, University of California Press, 1998, 2002. Amazon   Written by a devout Muslim, this book is essential reading for anyone who still has any illusions that radical Islamist fundamentalism can coexist with, or evolve into democracy, and for anyone who confuses Islam with political Islamist fundamentalism.

Islam-Middle Ages & Ottoman

Islam Today and Islamism

Arab Middle East and North Africa
Countries of the Middle East

Note - The above are only a small sample of the books in the data base

Click to find more books on the topic that interests you


Braude, Joseph, The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, the Middle East and the World, NYC, Basic Books, 2003. ISBN: 0465007880 Buy-Review This currently popular book offers a vision for rebuilding Iraq.

Butler, Richard and James C. Roy, The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security, NYC, Public Affairs, 2001. ISBN: 1586480391 Buy-Review Former UN inspector Butler explains the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction that Iraq is supposedly developing.

Cordesman, Anthony, After the Storm, Boulder, Westview Press, 1993. Documents the after-effects of Gulf Storm.

Darwish, Adel and Gregory Alexander, Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam's War, London, Diane, 1991.This fascinating book documents how the Saddam Hussein monster was created, and how the West, including the US encouraged his aggression until it was too late. It has been reprinted several times and remains the classic book about the war.

Hamza, Khidir, Saddam's Bombmaker: The Daring Escape of the Man Who Built Iraq's Secret Weapon, NYC, Touchstone Books, 2001. ISBN: 0743211359 Buy-Review Khidir Hamza claims he was in charge of the Iraqi nuclear program, and details Saddam's plans to acquire nuclear weapons. His credentials have been challenged by some, but he makes a very convincing case. 

Kristol, William and Lawrence F. Kaplan, The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission, NYC, Encounter Books, 2003. ISBN: 1893554694 The neoconservative case for US intervention in Iraq.

Pitt, William Rivers and Scott Ritter, War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, NYC, Context Books, 2003. ISBN: 1893956385 Buy-Reviews Former UN inspector Scott Ritter claims in this book that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. If you want the opposite opinion, read his other book instead.

Ritter, Scott, Endgame: Solving the Iraq Crisis, NYC, Simon and Schuster, 2002. ISBN: 0743247728. Buy-Reviews Former UN inspector Scott Ritter claims in this book that Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, and that decisive action is required before it is too late.

Solomon, Norman et. al. Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You, NYC, Context Books, 2003. ISBN: 1893956393 Buy-Reviews A recent and popular book that makes the case against intervention in Iraq.

Tripp, Charles, History of Iraq, London, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002. This recent history of Iraq is quite popular.

Click for More books about Iraq

Note - The above are only a small sample of the books in the data base

Click to find more books on the topic that interests you


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Cornell University Core Bibliography

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