`Whoever lives in our country, speaks our language, is brought up in our culture and takes pride in our glory is one of us.' Thus ran a declaration of modern leaders of Arab states. But what exactly is an Arab, and what has been their place in the course of human history?In this well-established classic, Professor Lewis examines the key issues of Arab development - their identity, the national revival which cemented the creation of the Islamic state, and the social and economic pressures that destroyed the Arab kingdom and created the Islamic empire. He analyses theforces which contributed to that empire's eventual decline, and the effects of growing Western influence. Today, with the Arab world facing profound social and political challenges, it constitutes an essential introduction to the Arabs and their history.