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ChoicePacked with solid information about the complex reality of the Levant (East Mediterranean littoral) in its historical, geographical, and political aspects during the past two millennia. The historical patterns and parallels, however, are superseded by a frightening summary of the region's future (and perhaps unsolvable) prospects: overpopulation, declining water resources, global warming, and it's regional consequences, inefficient and corrupt governments. These prospects are compounded by local and regional, political and religious rivalries among the mosaic of peoples and ubiquitous sects that permeate the area and maintain the divisiveness. The nationalist ideologies of Israelis and Palestinians are the headline grabbers, but this conflict only temporarily masks the rivalries and problems described above, including ancestral border disputes with surrounding states, primarily Turkey.
Harris also notes the role of Western powers and analyzes their political and economic inroads into the area. In short, the book summarizes libraries of research to provide an up-to-date guide to present and future problems in this flash-point of Western civilization.
The survey is remarkably balanced in its depiction of ideologies and rivalries and is replete with useful maps and bibliography. ... Highly recommended.