Some Interesting Books

This is a list of books read by a group in the greater Stony Brook area. Our focus has been on the Middle East and on history but we have often strayed from that. Books to read have been chosen by a loose consensus and not everybody agreed on all the books we have read.

I have marked with one to three stars those that I particularly liked.

The citations are a bit sloppy but I think there is enough information to find the books on Amazon or in a library.

    2004 (and before)

  1. * Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey Fouad Ajami
  2. Season of Migration to the North Tayeb Salih
  3. The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror Bernard Lewis
  4. ** Trench Abdel Raman Munif
  5. Arafat's War Karsh
  6. Ghassin Kanafani: Men in the Sun and Returning to Haifa
    Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories
  7. Dershowitz Case for Israel
  8. The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in Modern Times Reeva S.
    Simon (Editor), Michael M. Laskier (Editor), Sara Reguer (Editor)
  9. From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over
    Joan Peters
  10. ** Occidentalism Ian Buruma and A. Margalit,
  11. Jews of Khazaria Kevin Alan Brook
  12. Thieves in the Night Arthur Koestler
  13. ** Satan In Goray I B Singer Introduction by Ruth Wisse.
  14. The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai
  15. The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties
    (Hellenistic Culture and Society)
    by Shaye J. D. Cohen
  16. Terror and Liberalism by PaulBerman
  17. Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Books 12-20 covering mainly the Hashmoneans (about 300pp)


  18. Josephus, Against Apion; also Autobiography
  19. R. Kagan Of Paradise and Power (103 pages)
  20. *** Fareed Zakaria The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
  21. * Lawrence H. Schiffman Who was a Jew? - Rabbinic and Halakhic Perspectives on the Jewish-Christian Schism
  22. *** Snow by Orhan Pamuk
  23. ** Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the three chapters (50-52)dealing with the rise of Islam
  24. * What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
  25. Steinsaltz We Jews
  26. Dore Gold's Tower of Babble
  27. Bible and Sword : England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour by Barbara W. Tuchman
  28. ** Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith
  29. Mideast Peace Process by Kozody


  30. *** Faith at War by Trofimov
  31. * Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan
  32. * Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner
  33. Mao : The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
  34. * A Writer at War, from the notes of Vassily Grosman
  35. *** My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
  36. ** No god, but God by Reza Aslan (my Amazon review)


  37. Jew vs Jew by Samuel G. Freedman
  38. Betraying Spinoza by Rebecca Goldstein
  39. * The Wicked Son by David Mamet
  40. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (review)
  41. Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present by Michael Oren (my Amazon review)
  42. ** Lenin, Hitler, Stalin by R. Gellately (review)
  43. Jews and Power by Ruth Wisse (my Amazon review)
  44. 2008

  45. World on Fire by Amy Chua
  46. * Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World by Stephen O'Shea
  47. The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple
  48. The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria.
  49. 2009

  50. ** How to Read the Bible by James Kugel.
  51. Origin of Financial Crises by G. Cooper.
  52. The Limits of Power: The end of American Exceptionalism by A. J. Bacevich.
  53. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) by Bart D. Ehrman.
  54. Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism by Paula Fredriksen.
  55. Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America by Adam Cohen.
  56. 2010

  57. * Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller
  58. My Father's Paradise by Ariel Sabar
  59. A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
  60. Emergence of Modern Turkey by Bernard Lewis
  61. Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef
  62. 2011

  63. The Age of Religious Wars by Richard Dunn
  64. *** The Yacoubian Building by Al Aswany
  65. * Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov
  66. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder
  67. 2012

  68. The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Steven Pinker
  69. 1493 by Charles Mann
  70. Passage of Power: The years of Lyndon Johnson by R. A. Caro
  71. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by D. K. Goodwin
  72. 2013

  73. * The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans de Waal
  74. The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
  75. * Infidel by Ayaan Hiris Ali
  76. *** Out of America by Keith Richburg
  77. 2014

  78. * Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (we chose the book in November)
  79. My Promised Land by Ari Shavit
  80. Maimonides: Life and Thought by Moshe Halbertal
  81. The Society of Equals by Pierre Rosanvallon
  82. *** Guns, Germs, and Steel by J. Diamond
  83. Ornament if the World by Maria Rosa Menocal (about Moorish Spain)
  84. 2015

  85. * The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's bid for World Power by Sean McMeekin.
  86. Jabotinsky, a life By Hillel Halkin.
  87. ** Innovators by Walter Isaacson.
  88. *** Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
  89. *** Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.