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Albert Hourani

From Academic Kids

Albert Habib Hourani (March 31, 1915January 17, 1993) was the preeminent scholar of Middle Eastern history through much of the 20th century.

He was born in Manchester, England, the son of immigrants from what is now South Lebanon. He was educated in Manchester and London before attending Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied economics, politics (with an emphasis on international relations), and philosophy, graduating first in his class in 1936. During World War II, he worked at the Royal Institute of International Affairs and in the office of the British Minister of State in Cairo. After the war's end, he worked at the Arab Office in Jerusalem and London, where he helped prepare the Arab case for the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.

He began his academic career, which would occupy the rest of his life, in 1948, teaching at Magdalen College, St. Anthony's College (where he created and directed the school's Middle East Center), and the American University of Beirut among others. He married Odile Wegg-Prosser in 1955, while teaching at Magdalen College. He died in Oxford at the age of 77.

His most popular work is A History of the Arab Peoples (1991), a very readable introduction to the history of the Middle East. Syria and Lebanon (1946), Minorities in the Arab World (1947) and Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1789-1939 (1962) are other major works.

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