New Face of Lebanon: History's Revenge

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Once known as the Switzerland of the Middle East, Lebanon in the late 1980s was considered a failed state: strife prevailed among Maronite Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Druze, and Palestinians. William Harris has described Lebanon's situation within a wider historical context in his books Faces of Lebanon and The Levant, both of which deliver up-to-date analysis and have received international acclaim.

Now, barely into the 21st century, history has taken revenge. The Israelis have withdrawn from the South, and the Syrian troops from all of Lebanon, after the people of Beirut rallied against the occupations and took back their streets. But bombings and contract killings are still the order of the day, and the future of Lebanon remains uncertain. William Harris, a scholar and journalist who is frequently at the right place at the right time, is eminently qualified to analyze events and make projections about the future. When Lebanese Christian General Aoun made his triumphant return from French exile in 2005, he met with Harris. Their last encounter was in his bunker under bombardment. Under similar circumstances, Harris met with Arafat just before he was forced to leave Lebanon. Harris has also shared drinks with Druze leader Walid Jumblat, advised Israeli minister Yossi Beilin about their push for Lebanese withdrawal, and had several talks with various Ba'thist politicians in Damascus.

Publishers Weekly has praised Harris for managing to find a harmonious balance between wry asides of taxi drivers and local tales on the one hand and interviews with such luminaries as the former deputy director of Israel military intelligence and the chairman of the Palestine National Council on the other . . . , while Al-Hayat has remarked on the lively debates among Lebanese who read his books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558763920
  • Publisher: Wiener, Markus Publishers, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Series: Princeton Series on the Middle East
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 1,446,132
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.88 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Married to a Lebanese Shiite, William Harris is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish. Currently at the University of Otago, New Zealand, Harris has taught at Haigazian University College in Lebanon, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Johns Hopkins University, Exeter University, University of New South Wales, and Princeton University.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: Lebanon and the World

Part One: Elements of Lebanon

Land and Geopolitics

Sects and Identities

Families and Rulers

Part Two: Greater Lebanon, 1920-89

A House on Sand, 1920-67

Into the Abyss, 1967-86

Militias and Cantons, 1986-89

Part Three: Lebanon after the Cold War

The Adventure of Michel Aoun

Lebanon and Syria, 1990-2005


List of Maps, Figures, and Tables

Glossary of Acronyms


Bibliography of Names

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    Worth looking at. but be cautious with some of the typical biases

    I recently bought this book (2011) from BN although it was published earlier (2005), as I wanted to see what experts write & how it conforms to reality with the passage of only few years of time! It Starts with an interesting simplified history of Lebanon & the origin of its inhabitants, whether native, or from greater Syria, the greater Middle East or elsewhere. The more recent history is rich in details , intrigue & personal impressions & experiences in Lebanon & of few of its leaders; includes conjecture, opinion, and speculation while some resources & references are of varying reliability. Also, falls to some degree in the usual trap of Western justification & bias in interpreting Middle Eastern affairs & history. Overall, worth looking at, as it gives a realistic brief presentation of the complexity, violence & difficulty of dealing with the unstable post colonial states of the Middle East while they struggle to evolve...

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