British Empire Books

The Modern History of Kuwait (1750 - 1965)

AuthorAhmed Mustafa Abu-Hakima
Originally Published1983
ISBN No.0 7189 02599

This academic book provides the student with a wealth of information on a subject that is hard to find a great deal of information about. The author is very much a historian's historian with a methodical, well documented approach to the subject. However, this can also suffer from a little dryness at times. The author can also suffer from being a little on the glowing and haliographic side in any description of Kuwait's ruling family's history.

One of the most useful sections to the Imperial student, is in his description of the importance of the Persian Gulf as a communications channel between Britain and India, that could sometimes be competing with the Red Sea route, but could also be a useful backup and complementary line of communication. He also explains how the British came to dominate the politics of the gulf region to the exclusion of virtually all other European powers. The importance of trade and the East India Trading company feature heavily in the early years of Gulf history. With company factories paving the way for more strategic and political alliances with the local rulers. He goes on to describe the how the relationship between Kuwait and Britain matured, but then is rather scant on information about the withdrawal of the British from the area.

The book has some interesting photographs and reproduces many of the actual documents and treaties for you to take a closer analysis of the fine print. The book also has a fine bibliography that would serve well as a jumping off point for anyone interested in delving deeper into this relatively uncharted field. You could do worse than to start your studies of the Nineteenth Century Middle Eastern political situations than with this book.

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by Stephen Luscombe