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In recent times Orientalists have been variously accused of imperialism, colonialism and distorting history. Robert Irwin powerfully overturns this view and radically reassesses their influence and legacy; he makes the definitive case for the Orientalists. Irwin charts the origins of Orientalism and its foremost practitioners, from Ancient Greece up to the present day. In doing so, he finally banishes the ghosts of Edward Said's Orientalism and shows that, whether making philological comparisons between Arabic and Hebrew, cataloguing the coins of Fatimid Egypt or establishing the basic chronology of Harun al-Rashid's military campaigns against Byzantium, scholars have been unified not by politics or by ideology but by their shared obsession.