A Major Contribution to Arab-American Studies

By Pauline Homsi Vinson

The Arab-American Experience in the United States and Canada: A Classified, Annotated Bibliography
By Michael W. Suleiman
The Pierian Press, Inc., 2006 

The first of its kind, Michael W. Suleiman’s “The Arab-American Experience in the United States and Canada: A Classified, Annotated Bibliography” is a truly impressive work that is sure to prove invaluable to those interested in the study of the lives and works of Arabs in America.

Up until now, information about Arab Americans has seemed scant and difficult to find. In a clear and accessible format, Suleiman brings together a multitude of references and a wealth of information about Arab Americans. He facilitates the study of the history and variety of experiences among Arab Americans while also demonstrating the impressive array of source material currently available by and about Americans and Canadians of Arab origin.

Combining diligent and impeccable scholarship with a clear sensitivity to the needs of both specialized academics and the Arab-American community at large, Suleiman has carefully compiled a comprehensive list of references to various aspects of Arab-American experiences. These sources range from film to literary productions, websites, sociological, regional, and religious studies, as well as cultural and political organizations.

For ease of use, this monumental work includes a table of contents, three different indexes, and cross-references. In addition, each section of the bibliography is headed by an introduction affording a general overview of its contents. Each bibliographical entry, in turn, is fully annotated, providing the reader with a synopsis of each work listed.

Through his clear presentation, Suleiman manages to make something as arcane and forbidding as an academic bibliography accessible not only to research scholars already comfortable scanning library holdings and bibliographic entries, but also to non-academics who might be both surprised and pleased to find the wealth of information available about the many different aspects of the Arab-American experience.

Impressively, the author informs us that he has personally checked each and every one of the entries in this 604-page volume! This dedication and meticulous care is sure to inspire others to learn more about the history and variety of the Arab-American experience as well as to participate in the production of knowledge about this changing and evolving segment of the American population.

This book should be added to the holdings of all major academic and public libraries. It will undoubtedly prove instrumental in creating a better understanding of a segment of American society that has until recently been largely misunderstood and generally understudied.  

This review appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 12, nos. 56/57 (Summer/Fall 2006)

Copyright (c) 2006 by Al Jadid