Land of Aching Hearts

By Leila Tarazi Fawaz,

Book cover of Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War

Book description

The Great War transformed the Middle East, bringing to an end four hundred years of Ottoman rule in Arab lands while giving rise to the Middle East as we know it today. A century later, the experiences of ordinary men and women during those calamitous years have faded from memory.…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Land of Aching Hearts as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I like this book because it shows in maps and in thoughtful storytelling why the Middle East mattered to World War I.

Focused on the Arab lands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I and after, Fawaz’s book shows the importance of what some in Europe considered a secondary front in the war. The end of the Ottoman Empire, destroyed by World War I, had profound consequences for the peoples living in former Ottoman lands in modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.

From Michelle's list on World War I and the Middle East.

Understanding the First World War is fundamental to understanding today’s Middle East. The book offers us an impressive account of the Greater Syria at war, the region that encompasses Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Southern Turkey. Viewing the war from a social history perspective, we read various experiences of the fishermen, peasants, deserters, migrants, entrepreneurs, profiteers, and foreign soldiers from the colonial army of Britain against the backdrop of a “changing Middle East.”

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