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The Middle East - Context for Conflict
Compiled by Richard Seltzer

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The Middle East - Context for Conflict

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The Middle East - Context for Conflict
Iraq, Iran, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf States
Compiled by Richard Seltzer
B&R Samizdat Express - February 24, 2003
ISBN: 0-931968-23-2
Genre: History, Political Science

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 2, 2003

Please note: As of 11/1/2008, this CD now contains 228 books and 11 Country Studies.

Even before the start of the current War in Iraq, interest in the Middle East had been heighten due to a number of concerns ranging from the Israeli - Palestinian conflict to talk about America's dependence upon Middle East oil. The Middle East is a diverse region, both geographically, culturally, and politically. From those whose interest in the Middle East is related to simply following the news, to those pursuing academic research on the area, the texts contained on Richard Seltzer's new CD compilation, The Middle East provide an indispensable resource on the entire region.

On this single CD, you will find the complete text of the Country Studies issued by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress on the countries of Iraq, Iran, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Each of these Country Studies is presented as an independent book, that looks at the countries history, society, environment, economy, government, politics, and how the countries under study affect the national security of the United States. A tenth country study on the Persian Gulf States is also included. This country study differs from the single country studies in that this book covers the countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Each country study book is presents as a single text file that can be opened with almost any word processing program or web browser. Each books also includes an appendix that consists of a variety of tables that are in html format. I was able to open these html tables with both the Microsoft Word and WordPerfect word processing programs, as well as opening them with a web browser.

Also included on this CD is the CIA World Factbook (2002 edition). This book is jam packed with information on everything from population statistics to the flags of the world. In this book you will also find historical facts, reference maps, and links to relevant websites. The main component of this book is a country by country analysis of every country in the world including a complete, albeit condensed, overview of each country. Information in this country by country analysis includes details as to GNP, arable land, literacy statistics, climate, religious and gender make up of the country, languages spoken, main exports, and other useful information that helps to give the reader a detailed overview of each country. This book is an illustrated book in html format. To properly see the pages in this book, you will need to open it in a web browser, such as Explore or Netscape. These files may not display properly if opened in a regular word processing program.

Reading the material presented in the country studies, and in the CIA World Factbook will help to give you a general overview of the Middle East and detailed information on specific countries. However, to truly understand the mind set of a people, it is essential that you have some grounding in the religious, historical, and literary traditions of a given culture. This excellent collection is rounded out by the inclusion of a number of history books that will help to put the history of the region in context. A selection of literary works ranging from the Arabian Nights to The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald are also included. Lastly, this CD also contains religious texts that will help you to understand the religious underpinnings of the region. In particular, this CD includes a copy of the J. M. Rodwell's translation of The Koran.

In short, this collection of books will provide you with an excellent introduction to the Middle East. This information will help you to understand the events currently occurring in the Middle East, and will help direct you to resources from which you can garner more information. This CD also contains a teacher's and student's guide that offers suggestions on how best to use the CD.

The above overview provides a mere glimpse to the material contained on this CD.

System Requirements

Windows PC
A web browser such as Explorer or Netscape, or a word processing program such as Word or WordPerfect.

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