Sectarian Gulf: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Spring That Wasn't


Toby Matthiesen - 2013
    In Sectarian Gulf, Toby Matthiesen paints a very different picture, offering the first assessment of the Arab Spring across the region. With first-hand accounts of events in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Matthiesen tells the story of the early protests, and illuminates how the regimes quickly suppressed these movements.Pitting citizen against citizen, the regimes have warned of an increasing threat from the Shia population. Relations between the Gulf regimes and their Shia citizens have soured to levels as bad as 1979, following the Iranian revolution. Since the crackdown on protesters in Bahrain in mid-March 2011, the "Shia threat" has again become the catchall answer to demands for democratic reform and accountability. While this strategy has ensured regime survival in the short term, Matthiesen warns of the dire consequences this will have—for the social fabric of the Gulf States, for the rise of transnational Islamist networks, and for the future of the Middle East.

Africa in History


Basil Davidson - 1968
    Basil Davidson's landmark work presents the inner growth of Africa and its worldwide significance, the internal dynamic of its old civilizations and their links with Asia, Europe and America, as well as the development of specific areas, tribes and cultures. From accounts of the days of the green Sahara and the great iron age, the earliest Portuguese colonization, the coming of slavery and the subsequent legacy of violence and mistrust, the growth of Islam in the north and the cults of the Congo, the sophistication of art and architecture, and the pattern behind social and tribal mores, the entire picture of the continent emerges. This revised edition reflects the recent astonishing changes in South Africa, including the release of Nelson Mandela.

African Origins of the Major "Western Religions"


Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan - 1991
    Ben's most thought-provoking works. This critical examination of the history, beliefs and myths, remains instructive and fresh. By highlighting the African influences and roots of these religions, Dr. Ben reveals an untold history that is completely unknown, Dr. Ben says covered up by the White race, by the rest of the world.

Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman


William Montgomery Watt - 1961
    A short account of the life and achievements of one of the great figures of history, this volume also serves as an excellent introduction to one of the world's major religions.

Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past


Firas Alkhateeb - 2014
    Over the last 1400 years, from origins in Arabia, a succession of Muslim polities and later empires expanded to control territories and peoples that ultimately stretched from southern France to East Africa and South East Asia.Yet many of the contributions of Muslim thinkers, scientists and theologians, not to mention rulers, statesmen and soldiers, have been occluded. This book rescues from oblivion and neglect some of these personalities and institutions while offering the reader a new narrative of this lost Islamic history. The Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottomans feature in the story, as do Muslim Spain, the savannah kingdoms of West Africa and the Mughal Empire, along with the later European colonization of Muslim lands and the development of modern nation-states in the Muslim world. Throughout, the impact of Islamic belief on scientific advancement, social structures, and cultural development is given due prominence, and the text is complemented by portraits of key personalities, inventions and little known historical nuggets. The history of Islam and of the world's Muslims brings together diverse peoples, geographies and states, all interwoven into one narrative that begins with Muhammad and continues to this day.

The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism


Helene Lee - 2000
    In the 1920s Leonard Percival Howell and the First Rastas had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, that established the vision for the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century, Rastafarianism. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell, also known as the Gong, established a Rasta community of 4,500 members, the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell's message, and through Marley's visions, reggae made its explosion in the music world.

The Case of the Slave Ship Amistad


Mary Cable - 2017
    On board were thirty barely clad black men, armed with cutlasses, and two white men - Spanish slave owners with an incredible story to tell. A month earlier, the Amistad had set sail from Havana with a valuable cargo of slaves and $40,000 worth of gold doubloons. She was headed for the Cuban coastal town of Puerto Principe - but in a matter of days, the captain and the cook were dead, and the ship was in the control of the slaves. Thus began "the Amistad affair," which, writes Mary Cable, "was to bedevil the diplomatic relations of the United States, Spain, and England for a generation; intensify bitterness over the question of slavery; and lead an ex-president (John Quincy Adams) to go before the Supreme Court and castigate the administration in an eloquent plea for the slaves' freedom. In her fascinating and carefully researched account, Cable takes us right to the heart of these complex matters, dramatically replaying an incredible series of events that converged to form a uniquely exciting and challenging chapter in American history.

Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach Into Arab Lands


Robert Satloff - 2006
    Looking for a hopeful response to the plague of Holocaust denial sweeping across the Arab and Muslim worlds, Robert Satloff sets off on a quest to find the Arab hero whose story will change the way Arabs view Jews, themselves, and their own history. The story of the Holocaust's long reach into the Arab world is difficult to uncover, covered up by desert sands and desert politics. We follow Satloff over four years, through eleven countries, from the barren wasteland of the Sahara, where thousands of Jews were imprisoned in labor camps; through the archways of the Mosque in Paris, which may once have hidden 1700 Jews; to the living rooms of octogenarians in London, Paris and Tunis. The story is very cinematic; the characters are rich and handsome, brave and cowardly; there are heroes and villains. The most surprising story of all is why, more than sixty years after the end of the war, so few people-- Arab and Jew--want this story told.

My Life and Ethiopia's Progress: The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I Volume One: 1892-1937


Haile Selassie I - 1976
    Indeed, a remarkable and outstanding world leader. Got to read it. First time ever in paperback.

The Last Slave Market


Alastair Hazell - 2011
    Slavery was ingrained in Arab culture, considered indispensable to their societies and condoned by religious texts. The hub of this industry was the island of Zanzibar, part of Oman's empire, and the British consul there faced a hard task. John Kirk was a Scottish doctor who wound up as Zanzibar's acting consul at a time when British political pressures were mounting to end the Arab slave trade - although the East India Company found it advantagious to ignore it.John Kirk was the only companion of David Livingstone to emerge untainted from the disastrous, often fatal expedition up the Zambezi River between 1859 and 1863. Three years later, Kirk returned to Africa, to the notorious island of Zanzibar, ancient source of slave trafficking from Africa to the Middle East. Half a century after the abolition of slave trading had been passed into British law, this commerce continued to exist on Africa's east coast, tolerated and even connived at by Britain's empire on the Indian Ocean. But Kirk, appointed as medical officer to the British Consulate in Zanzibar, could do nothing.This extraordinary - and controversial - book brings Kirk's years in Zanzibar to life. The horrors of the overland passage from the interior, and the Zanzibar slave market itself are vividly described. The final bitter conflict with Livingstone, who blamed Kirk for his own disasters, is retold. But it was Kirk's own success in closing down the slave trade on the island which made him internationally famous. Using private diaries and papers, a long forgotten Victorian hero and an extraordinary chapter in British history are revived in detail.

The Caliphate (Pelican Books)


Hugh Kennedy - 2016
    At its height, the caliphate stretched from Spain to China and was the most powerful political entity in western Eurasia. In an era when Paris and London boasted a few thousand inhabitants, Baghdad and Cairo were sophisticated centres of trade and culture, and the Ummayad and Abbasid caliphates were distinguished by extraordinary advances in science, medicine and architecture. By ending with the recent re-emergence of caliphal ideology within fundamentalist Islam, The Caliphate underscores why it is crucial that we understand this form of Islamic government before groups such as ISIS distort its practice completely.

Spider Zero Seven


Mike Borlace - 2018
    Now he collates his experiences in this compelling wartime memoir set against the backdrop of the civil war fought in Rhodesia during the 1970s. Helicopters were a vital component of the small Rhodesian Defence Force and as part of special forces, Borlace and his fellow aircrew soon became key weapons in the counterinsurgency operations. Adopting new flexible tactics and blending stealth with courage, they carried the fight by air to the heart of the enemy, establishing a fearsome reputation. In this vivid history, Borlace chronicles the story of airmen, soldiers and leading figures such as Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe’s communist backed guerillas from the perspective of a professional officer at the sharp end. In Spider Zero Seven, Borlace humorously recounts the training, living conditions and hardships of his time in the forces. He also touchingly depicts the human side of the military through his portrayals of his fellow pilots, technicians, medics, nurses and flying with his dog Doris. Out of the 1096 days he served as a pilot in 7 Squadron, Borlace spent 739 days on combat operations. During his 149 contacts with the enemy he was shot down five times and wounded twice. He is one of only five recipients of the Silver Cross, the highest gallantry award given by the air force. With this authority he gives a powerful insight into the violent events of a brutal conflict, in a book that will appeal not only to those interested in military history, but also to a wider readership who enjoy a personal, true-life adventure.

Peter Capstick's Africa: A Return To The Long Grass


Peter Hathaway Capstick - 1987
    Such highly successful titles as Death in the Long Grass, Death in the Silent Places, and Death in the Dark Continent have established him as the modern-day master of African adventure writing. Sportsman, adventurer, raconteur par excellence, Capstick has in many ways done for contemporary hunting literature what Hemingway and Robert Ruark did in decades past.Until now, Capstick has written post facto about classic hunters of the past and safaris in which he participated as a professional hunter. Peter Capstick's Africa, however, is a very different breed of book: it is the enthralling tale of an entirely new safari, an exciting first-person adventure in which Peter Capstick returns to the long grass for his own dangerous and very personal excursion. The result is a definitive work on African hunting, and one of Peter Capstick's greatest achievements to date.In 1985, Capstick went back into the African bush with two top photographers and a crack professional hunter, It was a venture taken for personal challenge, and for the chance to look anew at what had become of the Africa immortalized in his own earlier works. Peter Capstick's Africa is the chronicle, in text and pictures, of this safari. It is full of the same edge-of-the-seat narration, witty anecdotes, and wry observations that have made Capstick's earlier books so popular. But in addition, it tells the story of Africa today as Capstick sees it: a place that is in some ways the same as, but in many different from, the "dark continent" of even a few years ago. The text of the book has been integrated with the photographs of Paul Kimble and Dick van Niekerk into a lavish full-color production that illustrates Capstick's story in a way his fans have never seen before.Peter Capstick's Africa is a book few lovers of travel and adventure will want to be without.

The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the Eve of Islam


Glen W. Bowersock - 2013
    The Jewish kingdom, composed of ethnic Arabs who had converted to Judaism more than a century before, had launched a bloody pogrom against Christians in the region. The ruler of Ethiopia, who claimed descent from the union of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba and even was rumored to possess an object no less venerable than the Ark of the Covenant, aspired both to protect the persecuted Christians and to restore Ethiopian control in the Arabian Peninsula. Though little known today, this was an international war that involved both the Byzantine Empire, who had established Christian churches in Ethiopia beginning in the fourth century, and the Sasanian Empire in Persia, who supported the Jews in a proxy war with Byzantium. Our knowledge of these events derives mostly from an inscribed throne at the Ethiopian port of Adulis seen and meticulously described by a Christian merchant known as Cosmos in the sixth century. Trying to decipher and understand this monument takes us directly into religious conflicts that occupied the nations on both sides of the Red Sea in late antiquity. Using the writings of Cosmas and archaeological evidence from the period, historian G. W. Bowersock offers a narrative account of this fascinating but overlooked chapter in pre-Islamic Arabian history. The extraordinary story told in Throneof Adulis provides an important and much neglected background for the rise of Islam as well as the collapse of the Persian Empire before the Byzantines.

Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent


Blaine Harden - 1990
    By focusing on individuals, Blaine Harden uncovers an Africa that endures behond the sum of its statistics.