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Arabs

A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires
Written by: Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Narrated by: Ralph Lister
Length: 25 hrs and 34 mins
2 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

A riveting, comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and tribes that explores the role of language as a cultural touchstone 

This kaleidoscopic book covers almost 3,000 years of Arab history and shines a light on the footloose Arab peoples and tribes who conquered lands and disseminated their language and culture over vast distances. Tracing this process to the origins of the Arabic language, rather than the advent of Islam, Tim Mackintosh-Smith begins his narrative more than a thousand years before Muhammad and focuses on how Arabic, both spoken and written, has functioned as a vital source of shared cultural identity over the millennia. 

Mackintosh-Smith reveals how linguistic developments - from pre-Islamic poetry to the growth of script, Muhammad's use of writing, and the later problems of printing Arabic - have helped and hindered the progress of Arab history, and investigates how, even in today's politically fractured post-Arab Spring environment, Arabic itself is still a source of unity and disunity.

©2019 Tim Mackintosh-Smith (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Biased and certainly not the whole picture

Knowing that, it could be worth reading for someone looking for the western view of Arabian history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-18

Good book bad narration

It’s a shame (almost a disgrace) that the narrator doesn’t speak a word of Arabic and completely butchers the pronunciations of countless names, places, and things. It takes away from the story and makes it very difficult to understand some of the messages.

5 people found this helpful

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  • blank_by_design
  • 2019-09-17

Blah blah blah...

I keep waking up thinking, "get to the point!" The foreword had better not be an indication of the rest of the book. There's a metric ton of hyperbole here. It seems like there might be some facts in here someplace. But the author seems to be thinking out loud and trying out the different ways of saying each thought. Where the hell was the editor?!?! Will there be any coherent narrative at all? More as I slog through this.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Miguel
  • 2019-07-12

interesting and eyeopening

loved it and couldnt put it down. my only comment goes towards taking a biased approach on islams influence not giving it its right on how it transformed the peninsula as well as a few other points when it comes to regional politics .. overall an interesting read

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ann kimball
  • 2019-07-19

this is textbook reading

this is not a light read, and unless you know something about what he is talking about you will find this a bit of a challenge. I learned, but it's not good for an audible experience.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nur Arnaut
  • 2020-06-22

"Well Said and Very Interesting about the Arabs"

I love listening to this book, because it reminds of my own Middle Eastern roots in a way. And how the narrator stated, is very true that the Arabs have been around in the Middle East for as long as any other group, such as the Jews, Assyrians, or even the Persians. Keep up the good work.

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  • Felix El-Bezri
  • 2020-04-26

Monumental, erudite, illuminating.

A work of remarkable erudition and breadth and depth; a historian’s philological Odyssey that weds the storyteller’s gift to the wordsmith’s magic, and not without the wit of a Bernard Lewis or the lyrical charm of an Elie Kedourie. 3000 years of history is intimidating. This book makes it approachable, memorable, and fun. A veritable philological and historical feat otherwise, the author’s superficial (and borderline jaundiced) treatment of Israel weakens the narrative. But I suppose he had to somehow palliate the Arabists in a history that remains otherwise sober, dispassionate, and unsentimental about “Arabs” (without the definite article.) I just bought the hard copy because this one is a keeper and a much needed to histories of “Arabs” that largely remain in the realmS of apologia and fairytales.

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  • Pete A Turner
  • 2020-04-22

You dont know the Arabs Until youve developed a command of this book

Hell of a work Tim M-S has done all of us a favor in creating this powerful body of knowledge.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-12-27

A great inside book from a real historian

the author knowledge of Arabic language made him explore the deep meaning of slogans and poem as well intellectual debuts in the Arab world

It’s indeed rare to find a western author write that deep about the Arabian history

I Totally recommend this book

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  • Drew
  • 2019-10-02

Excellent Prose

The language of this book is absolutely incredible, and certainly represents its strong point. The author makes repeated points about the poetry of Arabic and it has trickled through to his English, as this is a history full of rhyme, simile, and alliteration,that makes for fun reading. As far as the actual story goes, this book is much more a cultural history than a narrative one, which was a little disappointing to me, as the history between the fall of the Abbasids and the rise of nations is glossed over as un-arab. I think there's a tad too much hand wringing over what is and isn't truly Arab. The narrator is excellent, however, and I find everything clear and conversational.

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  • Warren Hegg
  • 2019-09-25

Excellent overview of the complexity and contradiction of the “Arabs”

Excellent overview of the community complex socio-economic, political and religious history and ciultural identity of the Arab speaking world.