Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes, and Empires (Library)

Tim Mackintosh-Smith (Author) Ralph Lister (Read by)


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 three thousand 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.

Product Details

Blackstone Publishing
Publish Date
April 30, 2019
7.0 X 2.0 X 6.2 inches | 1.2 pounds
Compact Disc
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Tim Mackintosh-Smith is an eminent Arabist, translator, and traveler whose previous publications include Travels with a Tangerine and Yemen. He has lived in the Arab world for thirty-five years and is a senior fellow of the Library of Arabic Literature.

Ralph Lister is an award-winning stage and film actor whose credits include roles in Oz: The Great and Powerful, Setup, and Alleged. An Audie Award-nominated narrator, Ralph has recorded more than one hundred audiobooks and directed over a dozen others, across all genres, both fiction and nonfiction.


Arabs is a refined and pleasing tour through the history of a remarkable people, civilization, and language.

-- "Jonathan A. C. Brown, Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University"

Superb. What really distinguishes this book from others is the sheer number of its insights into Arab history, all of which are tantalizing.

-- "Steven C. Caton, professor of contemporary Arab studies at Harvard University"

Quite brilliant...I am full of admiration for this inspiring book, with its quite original and timely view of Arab historical identity.

-- "Philip Kennedy, author of Recognition in the Arabic Narrative Tradition"

Strips away centuries of erroneous myth-making...Anyone hoping to understand, let alone write about the Middle East, will need to read and inhale this profound, witty, and scholarly achievement.

-- "Barnaby Rogerson, author of The Last Crusaders"

An engaging history of the Arab world by a Yemen-based Westerner thoroughly versed in Arabic...A marvelous journey brimming with adventure and poetry and narrated by a keen, compassionate observer.

-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"