Why this book?
The pressures modernity and European governments (Great Britain especially), brought upon peoples of the Middle East in the late imperial age are here re-presented. In this revisionary study Lorenzo Kamel, Associate Professor of History at the University of Turin, "demonstrates how the heterogeneous identities of Middle Eastern peoples were sealed into a standardized and uniform version that persists today." Extensively researched and full of new material, Kamel’s book shows how the region transitioned from empire into nation-states, and how the modern ethnically-conceived countries of Israel and modern Turkey, and embattled ones like Lebanon and Iraq, came into being.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
This compelling analysis of the modern Middle East - based on research in 19 archives and numerous languages - shows the transition from an internal history characterised by local realities that were plural and multidimensional, and where identities were flexible and hybrid, to a simplified history largely imagined and imposed by external actors. This version of history is distinguished by the politicisation of these identities with the aim of better grasping and, ultimately, controlling them. The author shows - mainly through a study of key moments, including the germs of competing ethno-religious visions in the 1830s, the Ottoman Tanzimat, the…