Precious oil and export markets, wars in Lebanon and the Persian Gulf, peace talks at the White House, terrorist eruptions: more now than ever, Arab affairs are the West's affair. And yet as we find ourselves increasingly enmeshed in its politics and economics, the Middle East remains a mystery to most of us, a world of dimly understood connections and impenetrable complexities. The Arab world at last becomes accessible in this book. The only study to include developments since the Gulf War and the historic pact between Israel and the PLO, Inside the Arab World gives us a complete and detailed picture of the region as it is today, as well as a clear sense of how Arab affairs have evolved and where they may lead.
Despite its abundance of oil, the Arab world has failed to produce a single successful economy. Michael Field, a recognized expert and longtime reporter on the Arab states, ably explores the cultural, political, and geographic reasons for this failure. Ranging from Algeria to the Gulf states to Egypt and Syria, he considers the fragmentation of society, the people's tolerance of bad government, corruption, and the deadening economic effect of Arab socialism. But he also shows how the region--influenced partly by exposure to Western media, partly by reforms imposed by creditors--is changing now, taking its first cautious steps toward democracy, whose opportunities so far have been most firmly grasped by Islamic fundamentalists.
Timely, thorough, and highly readable, this book offers much-needed insight into the Arab world as its politics and policies increasingly engage our own.
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Michael Field is the author of A Hundred Million Dollars a Day: Inside the World of Middle East Money and The Merchants--The Big Business Families of Arabia.Review:
Comprehensive, lucid, and frequently insightful...[Field's] expertise in economic reporting shines when he discusses the problems of Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt...He candidly describes [the Arab world's] problems and prospects, providing insightful individual chapters on Algeria's political turmoil, Saudi Arabia's deficits, and the quagmire of Israeli-Palestinian relations. (Richard W. Bulliet New York Times Book Review)
From a western viewpoint...'the Arab world will remain a difficult place for a long time.' Just a little less difficult, though, for the newcomer armed with this excellent handbook. (Edward Mortimer Financial Times)
When it comes to the Arab world (and, straying beyond his book's title, to non-Arab Iran), Michael Field is strong on both. With a refreshing lack of stridency he charts a course from the decay of the Ottoman empire to the uncertainties of today. (Economist)
Moderate, thoughtful, and far-sighted, Inside the Arab World reminds us of the continuing importance...of the whole Middle East. For seventy years, it says, the Arab world was a failure. Now its intelligentsia demands legitimate government, its middle classes seek economic freedom, and its poor want their just share of the resources. The contest between these aspirations and the forces of religious obscurantism is of decisive interest to us all. (Michael Sheridan Independent [UK])
Michael Field...offers a provocative overview [of the contemporary Arab world] that should stimulate discussion among both specialists and novices in study of the region. (Don Peretz Middle East Studies Association Bulletin)
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Book Description Harvard University Press, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0674455207