Fouad Ajami The Dream Palace of the Arabs

ISBN 13: 9780375401503

The Dream Palace of the Arabs

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9780375401503: The Dream Palace of the Arabs
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From Fouad Ajami, an acclaimed author and chronicler of Arab politics, comes a compelling account of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to introduce cultural renewals in their homelands through the forces of modernity and secularism. Ultimately, they came to face disappointment, exile, and, on occasion, death. Brilliantly weaving together the strands of a tumultuous century in Arab political thought, history, and poetry, Ajami takes us from the ruins of Beirut's once glittering metropolis to the land of Egypt, where struggle rages between a modernist impulse and an Islamist insurgency, from Nasser's pan-Arab nationalist ambitions to the emergence of an uneasy Pax Americana in Arab lands, from the triumphalism of the Gulf War to the continuing anguished debate over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

For anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East, here is an insider's unflinching analysis of the collision between intellectual life and political realities in the Arab world today.
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Review:

The Arab world, writes Palestinian scholar Fouad Ajami, has been beset for years by divisions: religious, social, economic, and political. Many of these divisions came to the fore during the time of the Persian Gulf War, a "foreigners' rescue" in response to Saddam Hussein's attempt to seize Kuwait, which was, Ajami hints, in part a reaction against Iranian designs on the Gulf. Even those Arab intellectuals who supported Allied intervention at the time are now questioning whether it was the best solution to what they believe was a local problem. Ajami writes of the role of some of these intellectuals in shaping the culture of the region, among them the Lebanese writer Khalil Hawi, who committed suicide in the wake of Israel's invasion of his country in 1982. He also examines the terror that religious fundamentalists have been visiting on secular states such as Egypt, "a country with a remarkable record of political stability" that, Ajami believes, will be able to ride out the present storm. Ajami's essays will be most revealing for students of contemporary politics and Arabic history.

From the Back Cover:

"An important and illuminating book . . . a valuable testament to a tragic generation that tried to bridge the Arab past with modern ideals." --The New York Times

"The Dream Palace of the Arabs is an absorbing and sadly moving account of what political and economic failures on a grand scale have meant in human terms and at an individual level." --The Washington Post Book World

"Eloquent. . . . A clear-eyed look at the lost hopes of the Arabs. It opens the door to the thought processes of a society whose motivations have been little understood and often feared. The Dream Palace of the Arabs is a courageous book." --The Christian Science Monitor

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Ajami, Fouad
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