Name of Collection: Middle East

School Name: Francis Lewis High School

Address: 58-20 Utopia Parkway

Phone: (718) 281-3702

Fax: (718) 746-2017

Librarian: Stuart Rotkowitz

Librarian's e-mail: mail to:


The Middle East includes parts of northern Africa, southwestern Asia, and southeastern Europe. Although there is some disagreement about which countries make up the region, it consists of Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yeman. Sumner and Egypt, the world's first great civilizations, developed after 3500 B.C. in this region. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, three major religions, originated in the Middle East. Although most of the people in this area today are Muslim Arabs, other religious and ethnic groups include black Africans, Armenians, Copts, Greeks, Iranians, Jews, Kurds, and Turks. Because the Middle East is a major oil-producing region, it is important economically.
It is also a place of political unrest.

Our collection encompasses a wide variety of topics relating to the Middle East, including art and music, biographies, food, geography, history, languages, literature, politics, and religion. We also have books in Hebrew and Urdu.

Questions for Inquiry:
How do religious practices in the region differ?
Why did some oil-producing countries form OPEC?
When did the PLO become important?
What is the chief language in the Middle East?
How do the United States and Great Britian influence the Middle East?
Why is there political unrest?
Who are some of the most influential leaders of the region?
How does Middle Eastern music (art, food) differ from other types of music (art, food)?


Middle East, Middle East conflicts, Middle East history, Middle East maps, Middle East politics, Israel, Zionism, Palestine, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, political leaders, terrorism, terrorist groups, Hamas, Abu Nidal, Al Qaeda, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Saddam Hussein, Iraq, Iraqi, Baghdad, Kuwait, Iraq War, Iraq conflict, West Bank, Middle East conflict, Afghan War, Syria, Lebanon, Hesbollah, Gaza, Islam, Muslim, Jewish, Christian

Subject Headings:
Arab countries; Arab-Israeli conflict; Ancient Egypt; Old Testament Times; Gaza Strip; Anwar Sadat; Ben-Gurion (specific people);Israel; Palestinians; Middle East; Middle East--History; Middle East--Politics and Government; Middle East--Social Life and Customs; Middle East--Maps

Dewey Decimal Classification(s):

Ancient Egypt 398
Arab folktales 398
Art 709
Atlas of Bible Land 220.91, 912
Conflicts 956
Cooking 641
Egyptian mythology 299.31
Islam 909, 222, 297
Israel 956.9
Kuwait 953.67
Poetry 811
Political leaders 920
Shi'a Muslims 297.8
Women in the Arab World 305.4, 956

Key Books


Bahat, Dan and Shalom Sabar. Jerusalem: Stone and Spirit. New York: Rizzoli, 1997.
-Relates art, artifacts, architecture and history of Jerulsalem to the three monotheistic religions.

Breuilly, Elizabeth, Joanne O'Brien and Martin Palmer. Religions of the World: The Illustrtaed Guide to Origins, Beliefs, Traditions
and Festivals. New York: Facts on File, 1997. (CCD REF 291 BRE)
-Explains and explores the principle tenets of contemporary religions including an overview of their earliest roots; higly illustrated

Bunson, Margaret R. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File. 2002. (CCD REF 932.003 BUN)
-Coverage includes the period from Egypt's predynastic era to the suicide of Cleopatra and Mark Antony in the face of the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.E. Also includes archaeological discoveries, recent DNA studies of existing mummies and social, religious and political developments.

Freeman, Charles. The Legacy of Ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, 1997. (CCD REF 932 FRE)
-Well-illustrated comprehensive account of the land of kings and queens, officials and craftsmen, archaeologists and tomb-robbers, Greek and Roman influences.

Heine, Peter. Food Culture in the Near East, Middle East and North Africa. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2004. (CCD REF 394.12 HEI)
Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999.
-Shows how religious strictures on food and drink continue to play an important role in the eating habits of Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Werblowsky, R. J. Zwi and Geoffrey Wigoder. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. New york: Oxford University Press, 1997.
-Complete one-volume resource with short definitions to lengthy essays on the concepts, beliefs, and practices of historical and contemporary Jewish religions and practices.


Daniel, Elton and Ali Mahdi. Culture and Customs of Iran. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. (CCD 956 MID)
-Culture and Customs of the Middle East

Evans, Martin. Afghanistan. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2002.
(CCD 958.1 EWA)
-Afghanistan’s prospects and the immense task of total political and economic reconstruction.

Farsoun, Samih. Culture and Customs of the Palestinians. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. (CCD 306 FAR)
-Culture and Customs of the Middle East; Historical overview of Palestine.

Flacco, Anthony. Tiny Dancer: The Incredible True Story of a Young Burn Victim's Journey from Afghanistan.
New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. (CCD 362.197 FLA)
-Story of a nine-year old girl from the remote deserts of Afghanistan who accidentally falls into a kerosine fire while heating water for a bath, survives horrific disfiguring burns but is given a second chance.

Gerges, Fawaz A. Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy. Orlando: Harcourt & Co., 2006. (CCD 322.4 GER)
-Reveals who the jihadists are and what they are saying to each other and the world based on interviews with them.

Gheissari, Ali and Vali Nasr. Democracy in Iran. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. (CCD (955.05 GHE)
-A history and the quest for liberty in Iran. Call for individual rights and civil liberties.

Goldschmidt, Arthur. A Concise History of the Middle East. Colorado: Westview Press, 2006. (CCD 956 GOL)
-The latest scholarship and most recent events in the Middle East; An introduction to the history of this turbulent region.

Halkin, Hillel. Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.
(CCD 909 HAL)
-A modern-day inquiry into the ancient mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel interweaving biblical and historical accounts.

Leeming, David. Jealous Gods Chosen People: The Mythology of The Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
(CCD 201 LEE)
-Begins with a brief history of the Middle East, an indepth discussion of the mythology of the region and an exploration of mythology of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Long, David. Culture and Customs of Saudi Arabia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. (CCD 306 LON)
-Culture and Customs of the Middle East.

Mahdi, Ali Akbar, ed. Teen Life in the Middle East. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003. (CCD 305.23 TEE)
-Covers an overview of the countries, a typical day, family life, traditional and nontraditional food dishes, schooling, social life life including fashion, recreation, environment, religious practices and cultural ceremonies as well as resources and pen-pal information.

Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. New York: Random House, 2003. (CCD 820.9 NAF)
-A memoir about teaching Western literature in revolutionary Iran and a view of women's lives there.

Nashat, Guity and Judith E. Tucker. Women in the Middle East and North Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.
(CCD 305.4 NAS)
-A history of the role of women in the Middle East and North Africa including a chronology, a glossary and maps.

Spinner, Jackie. Tell Them I Didn’t Cry. New York: Scribner, 2006. (CCD 956.704 SPI)
-A young journalist’s story of joy, loss, and survival in Iraq; the people of a country in chaos.

Torstrich, Rebecca. Culture and Customs of Israel. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. (CCD 306 TOR)
-Culture and Customs of the Middle East.

Wakin, Edward. Contemporary Political Leaders of the Middle East. New York: Facts on File, 1996. (CCD 920 WAK)
-Includes information on Hussein of Jordan, Saddam Hussein, Hafez al-Assad, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Qaddafi, Yasir Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Webster, Matt. Inside Israeli's Mossad: the Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.,
2003. (CCD 327.175 WEB)
-Includes addresses for more information, web sites, a glossay, further reading and a bibliography about Israel and Israeli intelligence.


Abdel-Fattah, Randa. Does My Head Look Big In This? New York: Orchard Books, 2007. (CCD FIC ABD)
-Australian-Palestinian girl’s decision to wear the hijab (Muslim head scarf) and being ostracized at school.

Alsanea, Rajaa. Girls of Riyadh. New York: The Penguin Press, 2007.

Amirrezvani, Anita. The Blood of Flowers. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2007.

Ben Jelloun, Ben. The Last Friend. New York: The New Press, 2004.
-A coming-of-age story set in Morocco about the complexities and contradictions of a lifelong friendship and a singular threat to its existence.

Gavin, Jamila. The Blood Stone. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
-For thousands of miles, Filippo embarks on a treacherous journey from Venice to Hindustan to carry a priceless diamond as a ransom for a father he never knew.

Govrin, Michael. Snapshots. New York: Penguin, 2007.

Hosseini, Khalid. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003.
-An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes the reader from the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy to the atrocities of the present.

Kahf, Mohja. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. New York: Carrol and Graf Publishers, 2006.

Kaniuk, Yoram. The Last Jew. New York: Grove Press, 1982.
-A sweeping saga that captures the troubled history and culture of an entire people through the prism of one family.

Khadra, Yasmina. The Sirens of Baghdad. New York: Random House, 2006.

Khoury, Elias. Gate of the Sun. New York: Archeripelago Books, 2006.

Leshem, Ron. Beaufuort. New York: Random House, 2008.

Maalouf, Amin. Balthasar's Odyssey. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2000.

Malone, L. K. Divided Loyalties. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2001.
-Suspense and intrigue involoving tangled Middle East politics, a terrorist agenda, and secrets that may kill a woman and destroy a nation.

Mandouh, Alia. Naphtaline: A Novel of Baghdad. New York: The Feminist Press, 2005.

Parsipur, Shaahvnush. Tonba and the Meaning of Night. New York: The Feminist Press, 2000.

Sandell, Lisa. The Weight of the Sky. New York: Penguin, 2006. (CCD FIC SAN)
-Living in Israel brings new and very real complications.

Serageldin, Samia. The Cairo House. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2000.

Sofer, Dalia. The Septembers of Shiraz. New York: Harper Collins, 2007.


Pazira, Nelofer. A Bed of Red Flowers. New York: Free Press, 2000. (CCD B Pazira)
-In search of my Afghanistan. Nelofer Pazira’s difficult life in war torn Afghanistan, her family’s sacrifices and escape. The Story of Afghanistan itself.

Magazine Articles

• Print

Dershowitz, Alan. “Palestinians and the ‘Right of Return’”. Christian Science Monitor 16 April, 2007.
Dini, Massimo. "Islam Rising: the Growing Influence of 'God's Fanatics." World Press Review March 1992: 18-20.
King, Laura. "A Companion Called Hate Has Torn Their Worlds Apart." Los Angeles Times 1 Aug. 2003, A1+
Lamb, David. "Arab World Sees a Resurgence of Islamic Politics." Los Angeles Times 2 Nov. 2002.
Laub, Karin. "AP: Israel Cave Linked to John the Baptist." Times Argus 17 Aug. 2004.
Lynch, Marc. “Why US strategy on Iran Crumbling”. Christian Science Monitor 4 January, 2008.
Osnos, Evan. "In Kuwait, More Young Arabs Embrace Return to Conservative Islam." Chicago Tribune 19 July 2004.
Slackman, Michael. “Who Killed Rafik Hariri? Searching for the Truth in the Middle East”. New York Times 18 December, 2005.
Stack, Megan. “In Saudi Arabia, a view from behind the veil”. Los Angeles Times 6 June, 2006
Wolf, Richard. “Bush finds no quick solutions in Middle East”. USA Today 16 January, 2008.


  • Online:
Databases:*Gale Databases: Opposing Viewpoints, Student Resource Center Gold, History Resource Center
*Novel: Infotrac., Jr., Custom Newspapers, Gale Virtual Reference Library, Topic Search
*ProQuest: SIRS Researcher Online, Historical New York Times

Web Sites:

Arab News 01/01/07
-Published in Saudi Arabia, Arab News claims to be the leading English-language daily newspaper in the Middle East. Has Local News, Opinions and Arab View sections, Islam section, as well as regional sports, business, technological developments.

Encyclopaedia of the Orient: Arab Republic of Syria
-Part of the Encyclopaedia of the Orient explores Syria's political situation, economy, health and education, religion and peoples, and history.

Fog of War 01/01/07| 01/01/07
-The Washington Post offers an overview of the Perian Gulf War and what it did and did not accomplish.

Global Connections: the Middle East 01/01/07
-Learn about culture, economy, politics, science and technology, religion and geography. This PBS site has thoughtful essays and an interactive timeline that traces key events from 1900 to the present. Teacher resources are available. 01/01/07
-compiled by Susan Pojer, a history teacher, this site offers links covering culture, history, current issues, geography, and politics.

Jewish Virtual Library 01/01/07
-Topics include the basic concepts of Judaism, Jewish history, practiceand rituals, prayers, religious movements, information about Israel.

University of Texas Libraries: Middle East Maps 01/01/07
-Houses one of the most comprehensive map collections in the world including current political maps and historical maps of the middle East.


Globe Trekker: Middle East. Pilot Productions, 2004.
Mysteries of Egypt. C.A.V. Distribution, 1999.
*The Fall of Great Empires: The Egyptian Empire. Schlessinger Media, 2004.
Image Crisis: How is the U.S. Viewed in the Middle East? ABC News Nightline. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 2004.
The Middle East: Land of Contrast. Discovery School, 2004.
Music of the Middle East. Educational Video Network, 2006.
Mystery of the Holyland: The Secrets of the Pyramids. Prod. David Goldstein. DOKO Communications, 1986.
In the Mix: Voices from Iraq. CastleWorks, Inc., 1996.
United States History: The Middle East. Schlessinger Media, 2001.




Community Resources:

American Sephardic Federation 212 294-8350 Sephardic Voices in Israeli Cinema (February)
Center for Jewish History 212 294-8301
15 West 16th St.
New York, NY 10011

Brooklyn Museum 718 638-5000
200 Eastern Parkway Large Egyptian exhibit - ongoing
Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052 Magic in Ancient Egypt: Image, World, Reality (12/22/06-08/12/07)

Metropolitan Museum of Art 212 535-7710
1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St Over 551 works of art and artifacts from the Middle East
New York, NY 10028-0198

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

New York State Learning Standards: Language Arts

*An asterisk next to material indicates that it is recommended in this subject area but not available in this CCD collection.