The Near East, the Fertile Crescent, the Holy Land--by any name the Middle East has been at the heart of human realization, conquest, and yearning since history began. Present-day Jews, Christians, and Muslims--and concerned observers from the Americas to North Africa and Europe--feel strong allegiance to the area. Nations spend millions of dollars and countless hours in negotiating its endless strife, and still front-page headlines report sorrow after sorrow and revenge after revenge. In this book leading writers in the field examine the reasons and trace the "longest history:" the flourishing of the first empires and alphabets, the centuries of conquests, and the resulting resentments that fuel the conflicts being played out even now.
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