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Thread: History of Saudi Arabia

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    Senior Voting Member brawler5k2's Avatar
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    Default History of Saudi Arabia

    Once again I ask the good people of this forum as to good articles and/or books about Saudi Arabia and its history. Thank you in advanced for your recommendations .

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Are you sure you mean just Saudi Arabia? It doesn't have much of a history. It was created in the early 20th century. A good movie about this process is Lawrence of Arabia.
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    Senior Voting Member brawler5k2's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    The general peninsula if need be.

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    I don't know any books specifically about the peninsula, but here are some general books on the subject of Arab history more generally that you may find interesting and are good:

    M.A. Cook ed., Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East.
    Maxime Rodinson, The Arabs
    Maxime Rodinson, Islam and Capitalism
    Aziz al-Azmeh, Arabic Thought and Islamic Societies
    Tarif Khalidi, Classical Arab Islam
    Tarif Khalidi, Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period
    Muhammad Ali Khalidi ed., Medieval Islamic philosophical writings
    Oliver Leaman, A brief introduction to Islamic Philosophy
    Shatzmiller, Labour in the Medieval Islamic World
    Ernest Gellner, Muslim Society

    Tarif Khalidi is considered an 'authority' in the field, but I found him to be disappointing, at least when it comes to the subject of Ibn Khaldun.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Yes. The book is a great read as well, though it's not a one-night read. Very favorably reviewed:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-Arabi.../dp/0689119348

    The period seems to me to have been a giant and violent mess, as the founding of any other country in history is probably bound to have been. The establishment of the USA was no cakewalk, for sure.

    If this is a serious undertaking on your part, read the book. I now notice you aren't actually asking about the founding of the country, but its "history." I haven't read anything other than L. of Arabia.
    "Communism works perfectly inside the head of a communist idealist, but it works not at all anywhere else." - Le Chef

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    Senior Voting Member wsg1991's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    I don't know any books specifically about the peninsula, but here are some general books on the subject of Arab history more generally that you may find interesting and are good:
    Tarif Khalidi is considered an 'authority' in the field, but I found him to be disappointing, at least when it comes to the subject of Ibn Khaldun.
    what's up with Ibn khaldun ?

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by wsg1991 View Post
    what's up with Ibn khaldun ?
    What do you mean? Who he was? His Muqaddimah is a pretty well-known book among scholars today because they see all kinds of things in it from a modern perspective, like materialism, secularism, empiricism, rationalism, etc.

    So you see a lot of right-wingers claiming his legacy (they claim he came up with supply-side economics), and a lot of Marxists claiming it (they claim he preceded historical materialism). Given his fame, you also now have a lot of Muslim scholars trying to paint him as some kind of superhuman genius who had access to knowledge that no one has since rivaled, so he preceded and was more brilliant than the likes of Marx, Ricardo, Smith etc. according to them. Khalidi seems to fit in with the crowd who claims he's some secular humanist empiricist.

    The problem with all these views is that they are all wrong. The Muqaddimah does have sections touching on materialism, empiricism etc., but it also has a lot of parts that simply don't, and if you want to find out what Ibn Khaldun is really doing, you have to take into account the whole of his work, not take the bits and pieces that you happen to like and then universalize them, pretending that they represent the whole of his views. When you do that, you are indulging in the work of creating a Saint, a Hero, instead of a analyzing who he really was and what he really thought, as we can best find out by analyzing thoroughly his various works and the broader context within which they were written.

    There's some more basic info about him on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibn_Khaldun
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Senior Voting Member wsg1991's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by Amoeba View Post
    i know who is Ibn khaldoun , we have a statue of him in the capital .
    but I found him to be disappointing, at least when it comes to the subject of Ibn Khaldun.
    just wanted more explanation about that

    i don't think we can draw any comparison between late Middle age scholar , some 19 century ^philosopher
    it's a habit here to create a false image of the Saint religious scholar and kings of the golden age , the reality was the opposite

    i do see quotes and several texts and reference to his works , but never read any ,

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    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    This book has just come out:

    http://www.amazon.com/On-Saudi-Arabi.../dp/0307272168

    It may be a bit 'liberal', but it looks quite good.

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by wsg1991 View Post
    i know who is Ibn khaldoun , we have a statue of him in the capital .
    just wanted more explanation about that

    i don't think we can draw any comparison between late Middle age scholar , some 19 century ^philosopher
    it's a habit here to create a false image of the Saint religious scholar and kings of the golden age , the reality was the opposite

    i do see quotes and several texts and reference to his works , but never read any ,
    Ah, ok. Yeah, in Muslim countries he is highly revered, but for all the wrong reasons, in a lot of cases. Where he is of interest, he is secular and empirical; where he is absurd and irrelevant except as a historical curiosity, he is religious and into 'magic' and all that stuff. Many Muslim scholars like to ignore the latter part, and focus on the former, all the while trying to paint him as a genius, completely missing the point of where his genius lied, namely in the non-religious parts of his work.

    As I mentioned briefly above, there's this ridiculous article I read in which some guy tries to make him out to be a thinker who was more correct on economic theory than the likes of Ricardo, Smith and Marx, all based on a single quotation taken completely out of context and filled with anachronistic interpretations that have little to do with what Ibn Khaldun was writing about. On the other side you have some uninformed Marxists trying to claim he is some kind of forerunner to historical materialism, also ignoring the real nature of his work, which is much more inconsistent and complex in that it has religious and 'non-empirical' elements playing a, at times, major role in it.

    One brief example: He lays out a theory to analyze historical records about army sizes, saying that a critical historian must look at the size of the land at the time to find out whether the numbers given for the size of the army are accurate or not, the product of bluff and bias on the part of past historians and record-keepers. Using this empirical methodology, he concludes that the number of forces given for some past clans and dynasties is woefully inaccurate, and must thus be discarded — with one exception, Israel. Why this exception? Because the Jews at the time were the Chosen People, so the records about their spectacular rise as written in the Quran must be accurate, for God ordained it. So here you see him setting up a law by means of which we can determine something, approaching empirical analysis (obviously it's not very sophisticated, but still), and then breaking that very same law where it concerns religion. It is not really a 'law' then, it's merely a means to an end, that contains many lacunae.

    Also, Rosa, have you read that book yourself? I looked into the author a little bit, having never heard of her before, and it seems as though she's not an expert on the matter. She's a former executive at the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones, having only engaged with the Middle East issue as part of her duties as a journalist. I don't think she's a good source, but I could be wrong.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Senior Voting Member wsg1991's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    [QUOTE=Amoeba;6349]
    Ah, ok. Yeah, in Muslim countries he is highly revered
    he was born in Tunis , capital of modern Tunisia , yeah so it's highly regarded here of course don't know about the rest
    One brief example: He lays out a theory to analyze historical records about army sizes, saying that a critical historian must look at the size of the land at the time to find out whether the numbers given for the size of the army are accurate or not, the product of bluff and bias on the part of past historians and record-keepers. Using this empirical methodology, he concludes that the number of forces given for some past clans and dynasties is woefully inaccurate, and must thus be discarded — with one exception, Israel. Why this exception? Because the Jews at the time were the Chosen People, so the records about their spectacular rise as written in the Quran must be accurate, for God ordained it. So here you see him setting up a law by means of which we can determine something, approaching empirical analysis (obviously it's not very sophisticated, but still), and then breaking that very same law where it concerns religion. It is not really a 'law' then, it's m
    i think that's shows the limit of it's empirical analysis , the red lines he don't cross i see such behavior today with my college religious medical student who analyze empirically until they reach stuff like ''evolution'' or anything religion has something to say about . i don't think that means that his laws are false (whatever they are ) , it just mean that he is only partially rational , and can't challenge religion which is something in 14\15 century ,

    you Know Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (Rhazes) ? a fine medieval Persian Physician ; about Muslims picturing medieval scientists as saints , well this guy has written 4 books criticizing Islam , calling Quran fake , and saying mohamed was merely exploiting natural events to present them as miracles . OK now we have several hospitals and clinics named after him , even in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait .

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    Paperback Writer RevForum Administrator Amoeba's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Yeah, back in the 'Golden Age' of Islam there were many figures who were critical of Islam within Islamic societies. You mentioned al-Razi, there were also folks like al-Farabi, who, if I recall correctly, said that the Quran was mostly made of nonsense that is only valuable for 'the masses' but should not be taken seriously by intellectuals, who instead should pursue empirical sciences. Oh, and the reason it's valuable for the masses is because it keeps them in line by providing them with a moral code, something they cannot achieve by means of reason because they are too lowly as creatures.

    Oh and Ibn Khaldun is revered in other Islamic countries as well, including non-Arab ones. In Iran children are taught about him.
    To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them.

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    Administrator RevForum Administrator CornetJoyce's Avatar
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    Default Re: History of Saudi Arabia

    Einstein on marxology:
    "In the realm of the seekers after truth there is no human authority.
    Whoever attempts to play the magistrate there founders on the laughter of the Gods."

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