These essays, written over a period of thirty years, crystallise Professor Issawi's insights on Arab civilisation. They cover a wide variety of subjects: cultural and demographic history, economics, and politics -- from the seventh century to the present. About half the book is devoted to the formative period of classical Islamic civilisation; the other half is devoted to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These views give an idea of the size complexity, and structure of a vast, ancient, and modern civilisation.
The late Charles Issawi was Bayard Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus, Princeton University. He published numerous studies on the cultural and economic history of the Middle East.