Suggested Reading on the Middle East

| Posted Sep 27, 2009
Program: New Initiative for Middle East Peace (NIMEP)

Below is a small selection of relevant books and internet resources on the Middle East. The topics covered range from general books on regional history to detailed research on specific events and players. This list is incredibly far from exhaustive and is designed to be a permanent work in progress, so if you have any suggestions or any questions about any of the lists, please contact us at



  • The Future of Democracy in Egypt – Fauzi Najjar
  • Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution – John R. Bradley
  • The Ups and Downs of Political Reform in Egypt – Michele Dunne

General History

  • The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment – David Lesch
  • A Peace to End All Peace:: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East – David Fromkin
  • Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present – Michael Oren

The Gulf Region

  • Democratic Development in Oman – Jeremy Jones
  • Dubai and Co: Global Strategies For Doing Business in Gulf States – Aamir Rehman
  • The Political Economy of Saudi Arabia – Tim Niblock


  • The Devil We Know: Dealing w/ the New Iranian Superpower
  • Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam – Mark Bowden
  • The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America – Kenneth Pollack
  • Shah of Shahs – Ryszard Kapuscinski

Iraq (and the War In)

  • The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq – George Packer
  • Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq – Thomas Ricks
  • Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 – Thomas Ricks
  • Plan of Attack – Bob Woodward


  • Islam: A Short History – Karen Armstrong
  • Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet – Karen Armstrong
  • Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think – John L. Esposito

Israel and Palestine

  • The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Gershon Gorenberg
  • Against the Wall: Israel's Barrier to Peace - Edited by Michael Sorkin
  • Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land – David Shipler
  • The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East – Chaim Herzog
  • Defending Israel - Martin van Creveld
  • Gideon’s Spies: A History of the Mossad – Gordon Thomas
  • Hamas: A History from Within – Azzam Tamimi
  • Hamas: Unwritten Chapters – Azzam Tamimi
  • Hamas in Politics: Democracy, Religion, Violence – Jeroen Gunning
  • The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring Israel Peace at Last – Bernard Avishai
  • Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement – Zaki Chehab 
  • Innocent Abroad - Martin Indyk
  • The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood – Rashid Khalidi
  • The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World – Avi Shlaim
  • Israel’s Occupation – Neve Gordon
  • Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths – Karen Armstrong
  • Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossasd Assasination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas – Paul McGeough
  • The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace – Dennis Ross
  • Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life – Sari Nusseibeh
  • The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence – Shaul Mishal and Avraham Sela
  • The Palestinian People – Baruch Kimmerling
  • Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Sinccne 1967 – William Quandt
  • The Political Ideology of Hamas: a Grassroots Perspective – Michael Irving Jensen
  • The Process: 1,001 Days that Changed the Middle East – Uri Savir
  • Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881-2001 – Benny Morris
  • Six Days of War; June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East – Michael Oren
  • The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace – Aaron David Miller
  • 1948:  A History of the First Arab-Israeli War – Benny Morris
  • 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East – Tom Segev


  • Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace – Avi Shlaim


  • 34 Days: Israel Hezbollah and the War on Lebanon – Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
  • Hezbollah: A Short History – Augustus Richard Norton
  • Killing Mr. Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and Its Impact on the Middle East
  • Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon – Robert Fisk
  • Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah


  • Orientalism – Edward Said
  • The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future– Vali Nasr


  • Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire – Flynt Leverett
  • New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Assad and Modern Syria – David Lesch

Terrorism (and the War On)

  • The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century – Steve Coll
  • Holy War Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osma Bin Laden – Peter Bergen
  • The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 – Lawrence Wright
  • The One Percent Doctrine: Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 – Ron Suskind
  • Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam – John L. Esposito


  • Abu Muqawama From the Center for New American Security. Dedicated to issues of modern counterinsurgency.
  • AfPak Channel From, focusing on Afghanistan-Pakistan.
  • Informed Comment Juan Cole heads the Global American Institute and primarily blogs on the war in Iraq.
  • Marc Lynch Again from, "Abu Aardvark" has been blogging on the region since 2002.
  • Project On Middle East Democracy Examining the role and influence of democracies in the region.
  • Qifa Nabki By far the best blog on Lebanon and Lebanese politics written by a Harvard PhD student
  • Syria Comment Joshua Landis directs the University of Oklahoma's Middle East Studies Center
  • Uskowi on Iran An invaluable resource for on-the-ground events in Iran, with a special focus on the Iranian military.
  • Vision to Reality: Reut Institite Blog Daily analysis of issues of Israeli security.