Beirut: City of Regrets

Beirut: City of Regrets

by Fouad Ajami
     
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a thorough, moving and remarkably unbiased essay by Ajami ( The Vanished Imam ), director of Middle Eastern studies at the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, and 128 riveting color photos by Magnum photographer Reed, this book shows how the once ``charmed city'' on the Mediterranean has become a place of ``cruelty and hatred.'' Ajami writes of the sectsShia and Sunni Moslem, Druze, Maronite Christian and Palestinianwho managed to coexist, however tenuously, in Beirut until 1975, when civil war broke out and ``massacre followed massacre.'' Quoting Lebanese poet Nizzar Qabbani, Ajami concludes, ``Nothing remains of old Beirut except the scent of it that blows from old notebooks . . . . '' Reed's photos give flesh and blood (literally and figuratively) to Ajami's prose. Guns, bodies and scenes of destruction are interspersed with the depictions of desperate attempts by the populace to maintain their humanity and live normal lives amid the madness. There are images of a baby's christening, a woman having her hair done in an austere beauty salon, and, in one of the most powerful and upsetting photos, a young couple with a pink baby carriage crouch against a wall to avoid sniper fire. The passionate, sorrowful book is both a tribute to the beleaguered, persevering inhabitants of Beirut and to the beautiful, cosmopolitan city that has fallen victim to the political and religious animosities of the Middle East. (July)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Beirut, once called the ``Paris of the Middle East,'' is now half rubble and all killing zone. Even if one has a vivid memory, it is difficult to recall the city as it was or to imagine what it must be like today. This book helps to bridge the inability to visualize war-torn Lebanon. Reed's profuse and colorful images go far in il luminating the indomitable Lebanese spirit, as Ajami (Johns Hopkins) carefully narrates the descent of Beirut from the mid-century mark to date. Researchers wishing an exhaustive, scholarly approach will prefer Tabitha Petran's The Struggle Over Lebanon ( LJ 5/1/87); however, the eminently readable and evocative text of native-born Ajami, choreographed with Reed's perceptive lens, is well suited for the interested reader and the casual researcher. Strongly recommended for large and popular collections. David P. Snider, Casa Grande P.L., Arizona

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393305074
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
06/01/1988
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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