The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

by David Pryce-Jones


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As the violence of the Middle East has come to America, many Westerners are stunned and confounded by this new form of mayhem that appears to be a feature of Arab societies. This important book explains how Arabs are closed in a circle defined by tribal, religious, and cultural traditions. David Pryce-Jones examines the forces which “drive the Arabs in their dealings with each other and with the West.” In the postwar world, he argues, the Arabs reverted to age-old tribal and kinship structures, from which they have been unable to escape. In tribal society, loyalty is extended to close kin and other members of the tribe. The successful nation-state—the model that Westerners understand—generates broader loyalties, but the tribal world has no institutions that have evolved by common consent for the general good. Those who seek power achieve it by plotting secretly and ruthlessly eliminating their rivals. In the Arab world, violence is systemic. "This is a healthy corrective, a thought-provoking study. And Mr. Pryce-Jones has done his research, bringing a wealth of reading to his task; the book is extensively documented, with a good section of reference notes."—David K. Shipler, New York Times Book Review. "Acute insights into how the Middle East works, or fails to work. This is definitely a book to be read, if also one to be thought about carefully and rather critically."—David Morgan, Times Literary Supplement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566638265
Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date: 02/16/2009
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

David Pryce-Jones is the author of nineteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including The War That Never Was, Paris in the Third Reich, The Face of Defeat, and The Hungarian Revolution, as well as novels and literary biography. He lives in London.

What People are Saying About This

David K. Shipler

A brilliant insight into the way Arab societies work. A healthy corrective, a thought-provoking study.
New York Times Book Review

Daniel Pipes

A landmark for understanding the politics of the Middle brilliant as it is depressing.

Hugh Nissenson

A brilliant book

Elie Kedourie

Refreshing...most with the best historical works, The Closed Circle is the outcome, and the resolution, of a puzzlement.

Amos Elon

Powerful...must be considered and appreciated even by those who think they disagree with it.

David Morgan

This is definitely a book to be read, if also one to be thought about carefully and rather critically.
Times Literary Supplement

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