Twice per month, the Oman Library features a spotlight on one text from our vast Middle East collection. Each spotlight gives an overview of the work, highlights how the work is useful for research, and suggests other texts in our collection for research in the same subject area.

As always, the librarians at the Oman Library are happy to help you find whatever you need for your research.

[Latest!] Food Security in the Middle East

Amidst the raging wars and conflicts in the Middle East, less attention and priority are often given to seemingly lesser problems such as that of food security. Nevertheless, food security has often been a factor in causing and catalyzing conflicts in the region, as witnessed by the the Arab Spring. In a region where a great proportion of the land is arid and unsuitable for food production, and whose sources of food precariously depend on imports from more

The Middle East & Southeast Asia Collection at the Oman Library

The Middle East and Southeast Asia are two distant regions that are not usually associated with one another. However, there are, in fact, a number of topics that transcend the geographical space between the two regions. For scholars who are interested in the relations between two of the most dynamic regions in the world today, the Oman Library at the Middle East Institute is home to a sizable collection of resources focused on this more


The Colbert Held Archive: A Portrait of the Middle East

The Colbert Held Archive at the Middle East Institute is an impressive and unique collection of over 18,000 color Kodachrome slides donated by Colbert Held in 2014. A former foreign service officer and later professor of political geography, cultural geography, and Middle East history at Baylor University, Held captured a stunning variety of photographs of the Middle East during his many travels to the region between 1957 and more

Disfigured, A Saudi Woman's Story of Triumph over Violence

The issue of gender roles in the Middle East has been widely contested for decades. The Western viewpoint is all too quick to assume that women in the Middle East would like to emulate Western women in dress or manner and that anything short of that is oppression. However, in more

Richard B. Parker: Author Spotlight

Only a few authors have works that can be found on both floors of the Oman Library at The Middle East Institute, and fewer still that have a personal connection to both the institute and the history of the region. The late Ambassador Richard B. Parker can claim this status, having served 31 years in the Foreign Service and as the third editor of The Middle East Journal. He was also a longtime MEI more

Containing Arab nationalism: the Eisenhower doctrine and the Middle East

Under the threat of an increasingly influential Communist Soviet Union, in the mid-twentieth century the United States became more and more involved in Middle Eastern affairs. Struggling to reconcile its goals of containment, access to oil, and Israeli security, the U.S. government implemented a historic doctrine that pledged increased economic and military aid to the region in exchange for political more

Water in the Middle East by Charlotte Gorman

For many, an interest in the natural resources of the Middle East begins and ends with oil. However, in a region where systems of agriculture and manufacturing are threatened by increasing desertification and pervasive aridity, the amount, distribution, and control of water is drawing increased international more

See No Evil, by Robert Baer, 2002

Robert Baer’s See No Evil presents a firsthand account of the life of a CIA case officer in the war on terror. From recruiting agents in the volatile Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to wiretapping Abu Nidal students in France, Baer provides a fascinating description of his CIA service. Due to his long career—starting in 1976 and ending in late 1997—Baer has seen the impact of changes in the agency, which, he argues, have been detrimental to the operational effectiveness of the more

In the Name of Oil: Anglo-American Relations in the Middle East, 1950-1958

Ivan L. G. Pearson’s In the Name of Oil: Anglo-American Relations in the Middle East, 1950-1958 provides a comprehensive analysis of the extent to which British interests in the Middle East influenced or were furthered by the United States between 1950 and 1958. Although traditionally it is thought that the 1956 Suez Crisis marked the end of British prominence in the region, the monograph discusses how more recent research indicates that Britain continued to have the capacity to influence affairs in the Middle East... read more

The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants Rulers, and the British in the  Nineteenth-Century Gulf

James Onley’s The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants Rulers, and the British in the Nineteenth-Century Gulf (Oxford University Press, 2007) is a detailed and in-depth study of the realities of British imperialism along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The work demonstrates how imperialism manifested itself in different forms depending on the location, and the reasons why local rulers and merchants chose to collaborate with British Indian imperial officials in establishing the Pax Britannica in the nineteenth-century Persian Gulf... read more

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1989

As the world marks the centennial of the war to end all wars, David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Making of the Modern Middle East, is a welcome addition to the literature, chronicling the chaos and violent conflict in the Middle East during World War I. While the academic world might be familiar with Gallipoli, and Lawrence of Arabia, Fromkin illuminates a much larger and more complicated picture that includes a few triumphs as well as many tragic blunders... read more

Then They Came for Me, by Maziar Bahari with Aimee Molloy, 2010

In his novel, Then They Came for Me, author Maziar Bahari explores the numerous compromises he made as an Iranian, a journalist, an innocent prisoner, and a soon to be father. The autobiography begins in the year 2009 in a flat in London, England, with Mr. Bahari, the narrator, preparing for time in his native country, Iran, to cover the upcoming presidential election for Newsweek. However, as the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Maziar, despite his inherent and extensive knowledge of the region, is quite ill prepared for what awaits more

Pens and Swords: How the American Mainstream Media Report the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Free media in a democratic society allows people to evaluate and challenge, to scrutinize honestly and debate accurately. But what happens when mainstream media unknowingly fails the public? ... read more


Gaston Gaillard’s The Turks and Europe discusses the Ottoman Empire’s involvement in World War I and the peace process that led to the Empire’s dissolution. The majority of the book is devoted to the implications of the Paris Peace Conference, the Conference of London, and the Treaty of Sèvres. However, the book also offers descriptions of some of the peoples living under Ottoman rule, such as the Kurds, and specifically discusses Ottoman relations with Slavic peoples and Muslims living in Russian lands... read more

Modern Islamic Political Thought, Hamid Enayat   

Hamid Enayat authoritatively discusses the major currents in 20th century Islamic political thought. Although this work is incredibly broad in its scope, at its core is the assertion that the abolition of the Caliphate was “perhaps most important, controversy in twentieth-century Sunni political more

Caught by Surprise: Letter Found in Rare Book Collection

A treasure appeared in the Oman Library at the Middle East Institute in January. Librarian Amal Morsy scanned the shelves of the rare book collection, touching the spines of antique books to measure their approximate age by feel. She pulled down Muhammedanische Studien, a thick German tome written in 1888. As she was unsure of the title’s translation from German to English, she started to put the book back. But then something slipped from the page... read more

America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, by Hugh Wilford, 2013

A tale of how the CIA set sail into the Middle East with the best intentions, ran aground on its own failings, and was overwhelmed by forces and events it could not control... read more

All the Pasha’s Men: Mehmed Ali, His Army and the Making of Modern Egypt, by Khaled Fahmy, 2003

In his seminal work, Khaled Fahmy deconstructs Egyptian nationalist historians’ portrayal of Mehmed Ali, the nineteenth-century Ottoman general widely credited with building modern Egypt. Fahmy details how Ali consolidated his power and both industrialized and militarized Egypt ... read more

An Iraq of Its Regions, edited by Reidar Vissar and Gareth Stansfield, 2008

In opposition to the prevalent Western argument that Iraqi identities are sectarian-based, editors Reidar Visser and Gareth Stansfield lead a historiographical analysis in An Iraq of Its Regions that advocates for regionalism as a critical metric for conceptualizing identity in Iraq. They argue that the ethno-religious designations of Shi`i, Sunni, and Kurd as the defining identities for Iraqi citizens are a simplified solution that generalizes a much more complex and diverse country... read more

Contentious Politics in the Middle East: Political Opposition under Authoritarianism, Holger Albrecht (editor)

Published on the eve of the “Arab Spring,” Contentious Politics in the Middle East undertakes a rigorous academic study of the political environment of the Middle East and North Africa. The collection of essays addresses political situations (circa 2010) in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, with additional commentary on other states in the Arab world. In so doing, Contentious Politics comparatively engages with the complex relationships between opposition political forces and governing authoritarian political structures throughout the region... read more

No War for Oil: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East, by Ivan Eland, 2011

Ivan Eland’s No War for Oil attempts to dispel popular American perceptions about the relationship between global oil politics, the American economy, and the military power of the United States. Employing an empirical methodology to his political and economic analysis, Eland contrasts the potent imaginations of American politicians and the populace with facts about oil markets and U.S. oil dependency on the Middle East ... read more

 Decoding Al-Qaeda’s Strategy: The Deep Battle Against America

Americans have struggled to understand al-Qa`ida’s motives and strategies since September 11, 2001. While U.S. government defense agencies gain complex tactical and organizational intelligence in order to carry out sophisticated drone attacks, they do little to confront the terrorist group’s ideas. Middle East Institute scholar Michael Ryan sheds light on the origins and evolution of al-Qa`ida’s violent jihadi ideology in his new more

An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel

Among the vast literature on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Jeff Halper’s An Israeli in Palestine stands out because it challenges the usual depiction of the conflict by problematizing accepted categories and terms that are roadblocks to peace, such as qualifying Israel as constantly on the defense. In doing so, it offers new ways of thinking and innovative possibilities for resolution ... read more

Revolt in Syria: Eyewitness to the Uprising

Stephen Starr’s Revolt in Syria is a first-hand narrative of the first 15 months of the Syrian uprising. Starr explores the underlying currents of Syrian society, from the intricacies of the much-discussed religious divides to more subtle separations ... read more

Mark SYKES: His Life and Letters

 The life of Sir Mark Sykes, the British diplomat who negotiated the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 with French diplomat François Georges-Picot, is given a thorough treatment in Mark Sykes: His Life and Letters. Leslie Shane uses Sykes’ letters ... read more

The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East

Eighteen current and former scholars of the Brookings Institution publishedThe Arab Awakening at the end of 2011. The collaborative work analyzes the causes, methods, and implications of the “Arab Spring.” Though produced in media res, the book is thorough in its evaluation of both precipitating factors and ... read more

Author Spotlight: T.E. Lawrence

In our collection we have three works written by T.E. Lawrence, the famed Lawrence of Arabia. His magnum opus, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is perhaps one of our most prized items at the Oman Library—a tenth edition copy printed in 1937 and donated in 1938 ... read more

The Iran-Iraq War: Impact and Implications

The Iran–Iraq War: Impact and Implications presents a series of essays written by a variety of Middle East scholars in the immediate aftermath of the eponymous War. The text focuses on five key aspects of the War ... read more

Oman Under Qaboos: From Coup to Constitution, 1970 - 1996

Diverging from traditional understandings of Oman’s political economy and development processes, Oman Under Qaboos provides a sophisticated comparative analysis of Omani modernization in contrast to other so-called ‘rentier petro-monarchies’ of the Gulf during the period from 1970 to 1996 ... read more

Library Home