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Kuwait, nation in the Middle East, located at the northwestern tip of the Persian Gulf. Kuwait is a small, desert country, but it possesses a strategic stretch of Persian Gulf coastline and significant petroleum reserves. Kuwaiti citizens, who are Arab Muslims, make up less than half of the country’s population—most of the remainder are immigrant workers.
For many years Kuwait was a minor emirate whose economy centered on sea trade and especially pearl exports. The discovery of oil in the 20th century transformed all aspects of Kuwaiti society, and today the country has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. In 1990 neighboring Iraq invaded Kuwait, precipitating the 1991 Persian Gulf War, in which an international force expelled the Iraqis.
For younger readers
Kort, Michael G. The Handbook of the Middle East. 21st Century, 2002. For readers in grades 7 and up.
O'Shea, Maria. Kuwait. 2nd ed. Marshall Cavendish, 1999. In the Cultures of the World series, for readers in grades 4 to 8.
Glubb, John. A Short History of the Arab Peoples. Hippocrene, 1988. Concise introductory history from pre-Islamic times to the present; includes maps.
Goldschmidt, Arthur. A Concise History of the Middle East. 6th. ed. Westview, 1998. Introductory college-level text.
Hitti, Philip K. The Arabs: A Short History. Regnery, 1996. Author is a leading historian of the Arabic-speaking peoples.
Hourani, Albert Habib. A History of the Arab Peoples. Warner, 1992. Comprehensive and definitive history of social, economic, political, and cultural life in the Middle East, from the prophet Muhammad to the 20th century.
Lewis, Bernard W. The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years. Touchstone, 1997. Draws on many sources, including the work of archaeologists and scholars, to chronologically trace the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East.
Mansfield, Peter. The Arabs. 3rd ed. Penguin, 1992. Informed journalist's introduction to the history of the modern Arab world.
Robinson, Francis, ed. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press, 1996. Emphasizes Islamic economy, society, knowledge, art, and architecture.
Who's Who in the Arab World. 13th ed. Publitec, 1996. Up-to-date biographical source.
Facey, William. Kuwait by the First Photographers. St. Martin's, 1998, 2002. Interesting look at Kuwait through historical photographs taken from 1900 to 1950.
Khadduri, Majid, and Edmund Ghareeb. War in the Gulf 1990-1991: The Iraq-Kuwait Conflict and Its Implications. Oxford University Press, 1997, 2001. Background information on the events that culminated in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
O'Shea, Maria. Kuwait. Cavendish, 1998. General introduction for younger readers.
Zahlan, Rosemarie Said, and Roger Owen. The Making of the Modern Gulf States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Routledge, 1989. Ithaca, 1999. Comprehensive discussion of the creation of the Persian Gulf states.
Brown, Nathan J., B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Associate Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University. Author of The Rule ofLaw in the Arab World: Courts, Politics, and Society in Egypt and the Arab Gulf States.
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