The Inner Sea: The Mediterranean and Its People

Overview

Known to the early cartographers as the Inner Sea, the Mediterranean is emerging anew today, its tastes and styles now almost universal. But even as its influence - in the form of everything from politics to cookery, art, design and organized crime - continues to grow throughout the rest of the world, the sea and its people are now witnessing the most dramatic changes in their history. Who are the new Mediterraneans? How do they see themselves and their future, and how will their world change ours? Robert Fox ...
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Overview

Known to the early cartographers as the Inner Sea, the Mediterranean is emerging anew today, its tastes and styles now almost universal. But even as its influence - in the form of everything from politics to cookery, art, design and organized crime - continues to grow throughout the rest of the world, the sea and its people are now witnessing the most dramatic changes in their history. Who are the new Mediterraneans? How do they see themselves and their future, and how will their world change ours? Robert Fox explores these questions in a journey to every country bordering the Inner Sea and the great islands scattered across its waters. In the past five years, he has seen the mountains of Morocco, the deserts of Syria, the sylvan wasteland of Albania, the monasteries of Athos, the slums of Naples, Gaza in riot, Beirut in civil war, Cairo in celebration. He presents each people and country - from France to Libya, from Greece to Malta, from Italy to Israel, and everyone along the way - as they see themselves, and he shares the lives and thoughts of poets and politicians, popes and peasants, bishops, brigands and barons. In Fox's animated and perceptive chronicles, we discover a world in fermentation, stirred by irresistible forces of change: the growth of populations in the south (owing to overwhelming waves of migration from North Africa), the ever-mounting pressures on a perilously fragile ecosystem, the revival of ancient religions in more fanatical form. Perhaps most alarming are the political changes. The Mediterranean has always been a varied human mosaic in which ties of tribe and custom have been more meaningful than national boundaries. But as Fox persuasively shows, the new order now emerging after the end of the Cold War calls into question the very survival of the traditional nation-state - most notably in Yugoslavia, where long-suppressed ethnic rivalries have been unleashed, leading to full-blown war, and in Italy, where regional differences and the
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a journalist for the BBC, Fox, who now writes for the London Daily Telegraph , criss-crossed the Mediterranean between 1984 and 1991, from Marrakesh in southern Morocco to Syria and Israel. His brilliant mosaic of reportage, travelogue and history offers both a marvelous adventure and a penetrating look at a region beset by population explosion, tribal wars, cultural conflict and the rise of crime syndicates, clan organizations and extremist religious groups. Fox's prose is precise and arresting: in Greece, ``the most conspicuous inanimate victim'' of pollution, he observes, ``is the Parthenon, bandaged in scaffolding against the mordant smog.'' He finds the past embedded in the present in French Provence, experiences culture shock in Egypt's Nile valley, analyzes Turkey's transformation into ``regional strong man'' and gauges Catalonia's cultural revival. In a concluding update, Fox discusses ``the Yugoslav vendetta,'' political corruption in Italy, Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in Iraq and the rise of fundamentalist Islam in Algeria. (May)
Library Journal
Journalist Fox has written an ambitious book, studying the diversity of this ``untidy place with an untidy past'' and thereby discovering the common elements that bind together the Mediterranean peoples. Over a period of five years, Fox visited every country and major island touched by the sea. He provides thumbnail histories of each and also records his interviews with people from all walks of life, giving their opinions on the issues vital to them. Fox succeeds in showing that the region has been underrated by the rest of Europe and North America. His fascinating chronicle is unique, especially as a study of the factionalism (criminal, religious, or ethnic) endemic to the region. For most collections.-- William R. Smith, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore
Richard Paul Snyder
Fox spent five years traveling in the Mediterranean region, preparing for this book. His far-more-than-a-travelogue magnum opus details the ceaseless battles between the ancient and the modern; ecology and environmental devastation; individual greed and the common good. His essays temper a great affinity for the land and its people with an apprehension for the future. Thanks to low-cost plastic sheeting, the Mediterranean region now exports more than 30 million tons of tomatoes a year; in fact, tomatoes are so lucrative for southern Italy that local Mafias have taken over their production. But the ragtag greenhouses are one of the biggest eyesores on the Mediterranean scene today. Similarly, tourism is at once a boon and a plague to Egypt, which is home to one-third of the world's archaeological sites. The many visitors cause monument walls to humidify and their steps to crumble; indeed, more deterioration has occurred in the past 30 years than in the previous millenia. Yet the country feeds off tourism. And so it goes. Using his status as journalist to inquire, not romanticize, Fox offers his readers a generous, definitive portrait of this often misunderstood portion of the world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394574523
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/25/1993
  • Pages: 560

Table of Contents

Preface - A Note of Thanks
Prologue - The Sea and Its People 3
Map - the Mediterranean: The Western Basin 12
The Northern Shores
I Spain
i Andalusia: Mediterranean Overture 17
ii Toledo: The Old Mediterranean Renaissance 27
iii Barcelona: Heart of a Nation 31
iv The Moon Travellers of Majorca 39
2 France
i Languedoc: Cathars and Cultivators 46
ii Marseille 56
iii Corsica: Granite Exile 60
3 Italy
i Order in Disorder 72
ii Cities of the North: Milan, Genoa, Venice 80
iii Roman Politics 103
iv A Civilisation Apart: Naples 110
v The Mezzogiorno - the South 116
vi South of the South: Calabria 122
vii Sicily: A Family Matter 125
viii Cicero's Bitter Honey: Sardinia 141
Map: The Eastern Basin 150
4 The Arm of the Adriatic
i The Balkan Hinge: The Veneto and Trieste 152
ii The Southern Slavs Divide: The Break-up of Yugoslavia 156
iii Albania: A Law Unto Itself 190
5 Greece
i Who Are the Greeks? 216
ii Athens 220
iii Mountains and the North: Metsovo, Salonika, Athos 229
iv Islands: Cephalonia and Crete 246
6 Turkey: Crossroads to Asia
i Istanbul and the New Turkey 259
ii Ataturk's Citadel, and the March to the Sea: Ankara, Izmir and the Coast 271
7 Cyprus
i Turkish Cypriots 292
ii Greek Cypriots 299
Map: The Mediterranean 306
The Southern Shores
8 A Month in the Maghreb
i Morocco 311
ii Agony and Introversion: Algeria 321
iii In the Shadow of Hannibal: Tunisia 334
9 Libya: Qaddafi's Mixed Metaphor 356
10 Maltese Crossroads 377
Map: The East, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt 392
The Levant
II Egyptian Complex
i Scratching the Hieroglyph 395
ii Losing Alexandria 404
iii Ismailia and the Canal 408
iv Fellahin: Farming and Fertility 414
v Cairo 416
12 The Crescent and the Mountain: Syria and Lebanon
i Syria 431
ii Unhistoric Journey 448
iii Human Mosaic: Lebanon 452
13 Promise and Predicament: Israel and Palestine
i The Grapes of Hebron 482
ii The Land of Israel 493
iii Intifada 503
iv Jerusalem 513
14 The Mediterranean Challenge: An Open Conclusion 527
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