*Concise History of the Arabs*

That is the new and excellent book by John McHugo, and it is perhaps the best short one-volume introduction to its topic (with Hourani being the best single longer book).  Here is one short bit, concerning 1925 in Syria:

Some local Muslim and Christian villages joined the Druze, and nationalists stirred up activity elsewhere.  The conservative Sunni city of Hama exploded into sudden revolt, and had to be crushed by punitive bombing by the French air force, but the insurgents only fled to the countryside and continued fighting.  The revolt also gripped the Ghutah, the cultivated area around Damascus.  The city itself rose.  Realising that the capital had come under effective rebel control, the French army responded in the same way as in Hama and bombarded it indiscriminately, killing 1,500 people and causing an international outcry.  Once again, this forced the rebels out into the countryside where they disrupted supply routes.

Most of the book is actually more conceptual and more “macro” than that passage.


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