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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

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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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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-19

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • blank_by_design
  • 17-09-19

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Miguel
  • 12-07-19

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

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-12-19

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
  • 02-10-19

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
  • 25-09-19

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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-19

Very readable and in-depth

I'm no historian but I love reading history. If you've ever tried to learn about Arab history from an American's standpoint, you'll find that most books are superficial and hardly informative. This book was very readable, I'll probably read again within the year. Rather than regurgitate information we've all heard before, he leads you to many revelations on the subject. The author is clever and wise, I'm open to all of his thoughts and opinions throughout the book.

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  • Ann kimball
  • 19-07-19

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.

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  • Stephen Giordano
  • 21-05-19

Narration

Can’t understand every third word the narrator says - tried slowing down the speed of narration- didn’t help.

3 people found this helpful

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  • L. Mayes
  • 21-08-19

Horrible reader

Book needs to be read not listened to. Too many foreign names to decipher and reader had very very thick accent (Australian or South African). I had to really slow it down and still didn’t get half of it

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  • Rhys
  • 07-06-19

The best book I've bought on Audible.

This is, to date, the best book I've purchased on Audible. So much so that I will pick up a hard copy companion as well.

The book is written extremely well, it is a brilliant history of the Arab peoples, lands, language, and culture. It is respectful, whilst maintaining academic rigour. I would most certainly recommend it to anyone with even the faintest interest in the region. The book also contains ample humour, I laughed aloud several times while listening, and several times further when reading passages I've found in online samples.

That brings me to the narrator, who also may be one of the best narrators I've listened to. He manages to carry all the intonation, humour, and emphasis perfectly.

Overall, I can not recommend this highly enough.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Paul M Major
  • 05-08-19

A deep insight.

A good book for anyone wanting an understanding of the Middle East and the role of Islam in its evolution.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ahmed L.
  • 08-01-20

Great historical overview of ‘Arab’ history

Excellent overview of ‘Arab’ peoples history over 3000 years. Audio could’ve been better by correct pronunciations of Arabic names and terms.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Khan
  • 29-09-19

absolutely amazing!!!

loved it thoroughly! perhaps the most powerful book on Arab (&Islamic) history. would definitely recommend!

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  • Angus
  • 15-06-19

Fantastic account of an often overlooked period

I tried to find a book which would give me more detail of the prelude, rise and explosive expansion of early Islam, this book fitted perfectly with what I was looking for. The latter periods were also very interesting but I feel that the account of pre 1000 CE Arabs was the strongest part of the book.

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  • Seb
  • 31-01-20

Thank you Tim

Deep, broad, sympathetic and authentic history of a people, a disunity of tribes. Long but well read.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-06-19

Weird

Difficult listening, as the narrator’s tone and delivery is like some 1970s DJ, selling soap powder.

4 people found this helpful