Fictional or Non-Fictional Personal Accounts:
Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood
By Barakat, Ibtisam
Come Tell Me How You Live
By Agatha Christie Mallowan
Agatha Christie, writing under the name of her second husband Max Mallowan, recounts their lives on the archaeological projects that Max directed in Iraq and Syria just before and after World War II (during which, incidentally, Agatha wrote many of her murder mysteries).
Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War
By Anna Ciezadlo
This is a memoir of the author’s travels mostly in Iraq and Beirut around 2003 – 2009. She is incredibly insightful, and the book is beautifully written and an easy read.
A Persian Requiem (Also available in a translation entitled Savushun.)
By Simin Daneshvar
The first published novel by an Iranian woman, this beautifully written story is set in Shiraz, Iran during World War II. The story is told primarily from the point of view of a woman caught in a web of family and political intrigues, including those involving the presence of the British in SW Iran and tribal conflicts with the local government.
Baghdad Without a Map
By Tony Horwitz
A very humorously written set of vignettes that illustrate some of the more idiosyncratic aspects of Middle Eastern societies and politics.
Pillar of Salt
By Albert Memmi
A wonderful autobiographical novel about coming of age in the Jewish ghetto of Tunis during the 1930s and 1940s, this book portrays the impact of French colonialism on Tunisian society in general and on Tunisian Jews in particular at the time Tunisia was occupied by Axis powers.
Touba and the Meaning of Night
By Shahrnush Parsipur. Introduction by Kamran Talattof, translated by Havva Houshmand and Kamran Talattof.
Eighty dramatic years in Iran—from the turn of the 20th-century to the 1979 revolution—are witnessed through Touba's chador-covered eyes in this bold, insightful novel.
Women without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran
By Shahrnush Parsipur
Five women characters escape social constraints in a magical garden. Artist Shirin Neshat recently produced a film based on this novel.
Persepolis and Persepolis II
By Marjane Satrapi
Graphic “novels” that tell the true story of the author’s experiences as a child/young adult during the Iranian Revolution, Iran-Iraq War, and afterwards.
The Bastard of Istanbul
By Elif Shafak
Written by a Turkish novelist and former UA faculty member, dealing with Turkish identity and the Armenian question.
By Wilfred Thesiger
An amazing account of Thesiger’s treks through the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula before the advent of big oil and all the social and political change that followed thereafter.
The Lemon Tree
By Sandy Tolan
An insightful, engaging personal account of two families’—one Arab, one Jewish—attachment to a small stone house in Ramla, Israel.
A History of Modern Iran
By Ervand Abrahamian
Modern Iran since 1921: The Pahlavis and After
By Ali Ansari
Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History
By Thomas Barfield
Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia
By Rachel Bronson
A New Introduction to Islam, 2nd ed.
By Daniel Brown
A History of the Modern Middle East, 4th ed.
By William L. Cleveland and Martin Bunton
By Larry Collins & Lapierre, Dominique
By Jamal J. Elias
This is a short and readable history of Islam from the 7th century to the present, with timelines, maps, and glossary.
A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East
By David Fromkin
The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War, 2nd ed.
James L. Gelvin
Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewries: History and Culture in the Modern Era
Editied By Harvey E. Goldberg
A Concise History of the Middle East
By Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Davidson, Lawrence
The Arab-Israeli Wars
By Chaim Herzog
Middle Eastern Humanities: An Introduction to the Cultures of the Middle East
By Leila Hudson
Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East
By Daniel C. Kurtzer and Scott B. Lasensky
The Israel - Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, 7th ed.
By Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin
A collection of primary source documents dating from 1882 into the 21st century.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom
By T.E. Lawrence
Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey
By Andrew Mango
The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Middle East Peace
By Aaron David Miller
Egypt on the Brink
By Tarek Osman
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
By Robert A. Pape
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
By Thomas E. Ricks
The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008
By Thomas E. Ricks
Escaping Plato’s Cave: How America’s Blindness to the Rest of the World Threatens Our Survival
By Mort Rosenblum
"Mort Rosenblum has spent his entire working life in the wider world, and "Escaping Plato's Cave" is the fruit of that vast fieldwork--passionate, timely, and original, it is a book every American should read."--Paul Theroux
Little Bunch of Madmen: Elements of Global Reporting
By Mort Rosenblum
"With this invaluable, succinct, and compulsively readable primer, legendary foreign correspondent Mort Rosenblum hauls young journalists up some of the steepest slopes of their learning curve. They and their readers ought to be enormously grateful for what he's done." --Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us
The Transformation of Palestinian Politics: From Revolution to State-Building
By Barry Rubin
A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, Second Edition
By Howard Sachar
Islam and Modernity in Turkey
By Brian Silverstein
An ethnographic account of Islam in modern Turkey by UA Anthropology faculty member Brian Silverstein, this book discusses Islam and mass media in Turkey, with attention to the Ottoman and early Republican background of contemporary Turkey.
Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents
By Charles D. Smith
Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An Education in War
By Megan K. Stack
A finalist for the National Book Award, this book chronicles journalist Megan Stack’s recent experience as a reporter in the Middle East and her understanding of the effects of war on Middle Eastern peoples.
The Stakes: America and the Middle East
By Shibley Telhami
A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2nd ed.
By Mark Tessler
Historical and political analysis by a political scientist.
The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
By Lawrence Wright
Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East
By Robin Wright
Turkey: A Modern History
By Erik Zürcher