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Beirut

Overview


Widely praised as the definitive history of Beirut, this is the story of a city that has stood at the crossroads of Mediterranean civilization for more than four thousand years. The last major work completed by Samir Kassir before his tragic death in 2005, Beirut is a tour de force that takes the reader from the ancient to the modern world, offering a dazzling panorama of the city's Seleucid, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French incarnations. Kassir vividly describes Beirut's spectacular growth in the nineteenth and...
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Overview


Widely praised as the definitive history of Beirut, this is the story of a city that has stood at the crossroads of Mediterranean civilization for more than four thousand years. The last major work completed by Samir Kassir before his tragic death in 2005, Beirut is a tour de force that takes the reader from the ancient to the modern world, offering a dazzling panorama of the city's Seleucid, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French incarnations. Kassir vividly describes Beirut's spectacular growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, concentrating on its emergence after the Second World War as a cosmopolitan capital until its near destruction during the devastating Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. Generously illustrated and eloquently written, Beirut illuminates contemporary issues of modernity and democracy while at the same time memorably recreating the atmosphere of one of the world's most picturesque, dynamic, and resilient cities.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Gilbert Taylor

“An evocative portrait of a great but tragic metropolis.”
The Australian - Ghassan Hage

“A significant and important book for anyone with an interest in the city and its ongoing troubles, the Middle East in general and in the relationship between modernity and urbanity.”
London Review Of Books

“Kassir embodied Beirut’s variant of the polyglot Levantine ideal. . . . His biography of the city of which he was a vital constituent is unlikely to be surpassed.”
Review Of Middle East Stds

“A unique contribution to the growing literature on modern and contemporary Lebanon. . . . Erudite, evocative, and highly compelling.”
London Review Of Books - Charles Glass

“Kassir charts in intricate detail the damage done to Beirut through architectural crimes that portended the greater destruction to come.”
Middle East Journal

“A definitive history of the city.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520256682
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author


One of the leading voices for progressive change in the Middle East, Samir Kassir (1960-2005) taught at the Institut des Sciences Politiques of the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut, worked as a journalist and editorial writer for the daily An-Nahar newspaper there, and was a co-founder of the Democratic Left Movement in Lebanon. The author of several other books, including Being Arab, Kassir was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut in June 2005.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Robert Fisk
Translator’s Note
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Prologue: The Eyes of the Mind

Part One: From the Ancient to the Modern World

1. Beirut before Beirut
2. The Great Transformation
3. The Ibrahim Pasha Era
4. The Roads from Damascus
5. A Window on Ottoman Modernity

Part Two: The Awakening

6. A Cultural Revolution
7. Between Boston and Rome
8. The Horizon of the World
9. Uncertain Identities

Part Three: The Capital of the Mandate

10. France Broadens Its Mission
11. The French City
12. Grand-Liban and Petit Paris
13. A Crucible for Independence

Part Four: The Cosmopolitan Metropolis of the Arabs

14. The Switzerland of the East
15. Beirut, Male and Female
16. The Pleasures of the World
17. Écochard’s Lost Wagers

Part Five: The City of Every Danger

18. On the Knife’s Edge
19. The End of Innocence
20. Beirut, O Beirut!

Epilogue: To Be or To Have Been
Notes

Glossary of Arabic and Turkish Terms
Bibliography
Photographic Credits
Index

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