Biography

2019
Kramer, Martin. The King is Dead? Does it Matter?. Washington, DC: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2019. Web versionAbstract
The Washington Institute has sponsored a series of discussions about sudden succession in the Middle East. Each session focuses on scenarios that might unfold if a specific ruler or leader departed the scene tomorrow. This essay sets the scene by asking whether a major leader’s departure is necessarily history-changing. Martin Kramer examines past cases of unexpected departures of twentieth-century regional leaders, in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the impact depends mostly on where the hand of fate interrupts the leader’s career. Paradoxically, the more successful a leader has been in realizing his larger goals, the less consequential his exit.
The King is Dead! Does it Matter? (pdf)
2018
Kramer, Martin. “The Three Wars of Bernard Lewis.” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa 9, no. 3 (2018): 239-245. OnlineAbstract
The career of Bernard Lewis was punctuated by three wars: World War II, the Cold War, and what he himself called “the crisis of Islam.” The article seeks to demonstrate that for Lewis, these wars formed a continuum, the common thread being the struggle to defend freedom and democracy against the forces of tyranny.
The Three Wars of Bernard Lewis (pdf)
Kramer, Martin. “The Conflicted Legacy of Bernard Lewis.” Foreign Affairs (website), 2018, June 7. Web originalAbstract
Bernard Lewis, historian of the Middle East, was widely misunderstood. But no other person in our time has done as much to inform and influence the West's view of the Islamic world and the Middle East.
The Conflicted Legacy of Bernard Lewis (pdf) Η αμφιλεγόμενη κληρονομιά του Μπέρναρντ Λιούις (pdf) تَرِكة برنارد لويس الملتبِسة (pdf)
The Greek translation appeared in the Hellenic edition of Foreign Affairs. The Arabic translation was prepared by the Naama Center for Research and Studies in Beirut.
2016
Kramer, Martin. “Shabtai Teveth and the Whole Truth.” In The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East, 219-24. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers, 2016.Abstract

The author recalls his long friendship with the late Shabtai Teveth, renowned journalist and the biographer of David Ben-Gurion. Teveth, largely unknown to younger readers, may have been the first to challenge the excesses of the “new historians," and his work deserves to be rediscovered.

 

Shabtai Teveth and the Whole Truth (pdf)
Originated in a 2015 post at the Commentary blog.
Kramer, Martin. “Fouad Ajami Goes to Israel.” In The War on Error: Israel, Islam, and the Middle East, 283-89. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers, 2016. Web originalAbstract

Much maligned for his truth-telling about Arab political culture, Fouad Ajami became the bête noire of the Middle East studies establishment. Some went so far as to call him “pro-Israel,” even a “Likudnik.” The author knew Ajami from his student days, and often assisted him on his visits to Israel. The article sets the record straight on Israel in Ajami’s worldview.

Fouad Ajami Goes to Israel (pdf)
Originally published at Mosaic Magazine on January 8, 2015.
2015
Kramer, Martin. “Barry Rubin's Improbable Journey.” Commentary, 2015. Web originalAbstract

Barry Rubin, analyst of the Middle East, followed an improbable journey, from a radical of the 1960s American left, to a hard-nosed Israeli critic of Arab politics and U.S. policy. Martin Kramer recalls his long friendship with Rubin, and traces the stages in his evolution as an intellect and scholar.

Barry Rubin's Improbable Journey (pdf)
2003
Kramer, Martin. “Policy and the Academy: An Illicit Relationship?Middle East Quarterly 10, no. 1 (2003): 65-73. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An inquiry into the views of the late Elie Kedourie on the relationship between academe and the making of foreign policy.

Policy and the Academy (pdf)
1999
Kramer, Martin. “Bernard Lewis.” In Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, 1:719-720. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999.Abstract
An encyclopedia entry outlining the contribution of Bernard Lewis to the history-writing of the Middle East.
Bernard Lewis (pdf)
Kramer, Martin. “Elie Kedourie.” In The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, 1:637-38. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999. Web versionAbstract

A short account of the life and career of Elie Kedourie, historian of the Middle East.

Elie Kedourie (pdf)
Kramer, Martin. “The Road from Mecca: Muhammad Asad (born Leopold Weiss).” In The Jewish Discovery of Islam: Studies in Honor of Bernard Lewis, 225-247. Tel Aviv: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 1999.Abstract

A study of Muhammad Asad, a European Jewish convert to Islam, who played a prominent role in mid-20th-century Muslim intellectual life, as a thinker and Qur'an translator. The study places him in his political context, with some emphasis on the impact of his Jewish origins.

The Road from Mecca: Muhammad Asad (pdf)

Italian translation: “Storia di un ebreo musulmano.” Lettra internazionale (Rome), vol. 21, no. 86 (2005), pp. 26-29. Download pdf.

1997
Kramer, Martin. “The Oracle of Hizbullah: Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah.” In Spokesmen for the Despised: Fundamentalist Leaders in the Middle East, edited by Scott Appleby, 83-181. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1997.Abstract
A biography of Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, often identified as the "spiritual leader" of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hizbullah, covering his rise to influence, his political ideas, and his religious concepts.
The Oracle of Hizbullah: Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah (pdf)
1991
Middle Eastern Lives: The Practice of Biography and Self-Narrative
Kramer, Martin. Middle Eastern Lives: The Practice of Biography and Self-Narrative. Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse University Press, 1991. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An impressive array of scholars, biographers, and critics from the disciplines of anthropology, history, political science, and psychology explore the diversity of approaches both to writing biography and to reading self-narratives.

Introduction (pdf)