Faber & Faber, £12.99
A History of the Arab Peoples, By Albert Hourani
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 12 January 2013
Manchester-born to a Lebanese family, Hourani was an influential historian and policy analyst.
Panoramic, judicious, deeply readable, his 1991 narrative of Arab history from Muhammad to the post-1967 upheavals remains a classic.
This reprint benefits from a long Afterword by Malise Ruthven which updates the late author's work to recount and analyse the Arab Spring.
Hourani's hopes for reformed states that would be "basically secular" but still relate to "general principles of social justice… in the Qur'an" feel at relevant as ever.
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