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Darwin Books SLAEI Series


Growing Up Different


Memoirs of a Middle East Scholar


by Charles Issawi



About the Book:

    From his early childhood, growing up in Cairo and in Khartoum, through his school years at Victoria College in Alexandria, and then at Oxford, Professor Issawi's journeys led him to positions in the ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Egypt, in Cairo, and finally to academia at AUB in Lebanon during its "golden years." After moving to the United States, and while serving in the Department of Economic Affairs at the UN, he joined the Economics Department at Columbia University, eventually being offered a full-time position teaching courses in the economic history of the Middle East. During this time Professor Issawi was beginning work on his well-known masterpieces of economic history: The Economic History of the Middle East (1966) and The Economic History of Iran: 1800-1914 (1971). After moving to Princeton University in 1974, he continued with The Economic History of Turkey: 1800-1914 (1980) and An Economic History of the Middle East and North Africa (1982). One of his most popular works has remained in print for more than 50 years: An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406). In his own estimation (and those of his very close friends), his "best work" is Issawi's Laws of Social Motion (1973), an unusual and erudite collection of laws and aphorisms on such principles relating to revolution, progress, social science, politics, economics, etc. (Both these last two titles are published by, and still available from, the Darwin Press.)


    This personal memoir is about the late Professor Issawi's life as teacher and traveler, friend to many whose lives have been enriched by knowing him, and about his scholarship, compassion, and enthusiasms. He was honored by his students for his contributions and service on behalf of Middle East studies, with the MESA 1999 Mentoring Award. Professor Issawi's youthful ambition was to improve the world, with economics as a "powerful tool for that purpose." He never lost sight of that goal.



Then there is Issawi's marvelous account in the happily titled "A Set of Accidents" of how he had put together on an ad hoc basis figures for the comparative per capita income for the countries of the Middle East that by a series of tragic-comic progressions found their way into an FAO publication, and thence "into all sorts of regressions and correlations."

Journal of Semitic Studies (review of Chapter III)


Publication date: 1999

Notes; bibliography; illustrations

Size: 6 x 9 (15.2 x 23.4); 112 pages

CIP L.C. 99-23120

ISBN 978-0-87850-132-8  $16.95  Buy it at Amazon.com!