For the Professor's Picks feature this month, we asked Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi a few questions about his favorite books and what he has read recently. Professor Khalidi will appear at Book Culture on Monday, March 9 at 7 pm to discuss his new book, Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East.
Here is our short book-related interview with him:
1) What books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading (in sporadic fashion) Mark Mazower's Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe; Graham Robb's The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, and Tarif Khalidi's new translation of The Qur'an.
2) Is there anything you're particularly looking forward to the publication of?
I am very much looking forward to the publication of Mahmood Mamdani's Saviors and Survivors: Darfu, Politics and the War on Terror, which I am reading an advance copy of.
3) Are there standard titles or writers you like to recommend, either within or outside of your field?
I always recommmend E.H. Carr's What is History?, A.C. Grayling's Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan, and in my own field, Kamal Salibi's House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered, Toby Dodge's Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nationbuilding and a History Denied, Beshara Doumani's Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, and Lyons and Jackson's Saladin: The Politics of the Holy War.
4) Do you have a personal favorite book of all time? If so, can you share it and tell us why?
One of my all-time favorite books is Abdelrahman Munif's Cities of Salt, translated by Peter Theroux (it is even better in Arabic).
5) What's next? Any upcoming book projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I am currently working on a project about the Middle East and the history of the 20th century that has still not fully taken shape.