Much of the history of the Middle East in this century has to be understood against the backdrop of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the intervention of the West. Lewis is masterful as he sketches the stages of reform in the nineteenth century and then shows how Mustafa Kemal Ataturk built on this legacy to move Turkey in the direction of a modern secular state. No one has done more to examine the interactions of the West and the Middle East, although some of Lewis' critics think that he overemphasizes the impact of the West and disregards indigenous sources of change. A somewhat different perspective is offered by Niyazi Berkes in The Development of Secularism in Turkey (1964). However the debate over the impact of the West is resolved, Lewis' book will remain a landmark in the study of the modern Middle East. As Turkey wavers between secularism and Islamic revival, this study can still be read with a sense of immediacy.
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