The Long Shadow : Culture and Politics in the Middle East

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9780887382208: The Long Shadow : Culture and Politics in the Middle East
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This is a book about politics by a historian. Though the subject matter closely resembles that of a political scientist, policy analyst, or journalist, the approach and treatment reflect the perspective available only to someone versed in the long shadow of the past. Daniel Pipes, a well-known writer on Middle East issues, offers the larger perspective so often missing. His study of the languages, religions, and culture, supplemented by years of personal experience in the region, give this book unusual depth.

The Long Shadow concentrates on 5 vivid and critical topics of the Middle East.

1. The Islam and Public Life. Pipes, author of two books on Islam in politics and a recognized authority, assesses Islam in Iran, Iraq, and the Soviet Union, as well as Islam's role in anti-Semitism.

2. The Persian Gulf. Here Pipes examines the origins of the Iraq-Iran war, the curse of oil wealth, and shares insights gained from an unusual visit to Kuwait.

3. The Arab-Israeli Conflict. In some of his most original work Pipes argues that the struggle between Arabs on the question of Palestine is actually more central than the struggle between the Arabs and Israel. He sees the PLO as little more than a tool of the Arab states, and perceives the deep division between Jews and Arabs in Israel today is likely to be permanent.

4. Iranian, Lebanese, and Libyan Terrorism have greatly affected the tenor of Middle East politics. Pipes shows how they differ and why the Iranians pose the greatest threat to the United States.

5. The United States in the Middle East. Pipes examines U.S. policy toward the area and American media coverage, arguing that both follow idiosyncratic rhythms, and explaining these peculiarities against the backdrop of larger American interests in the region.

While a number of Middle East specialists have written books or essays on the subjects addressed by Pipes, his book is distinguished both by its scope and its focus on the general reader as well as the specialist.

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About the Author:

Daniel Pipes, a historian, is the president of the Middle East Forum. A former official in the US departments of State and Defense, he has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Pepperdine, and at the US Naval War College. The author of twelve prior books, Pipes writes a bi-weekly column for The Washington Times, The National Review, and other publications.

 

Review:

“The book is a treasure trove of insights on Middle Eastern affairs. . . . As a historian, an Islamic scholar, and a concerned observer of international affairs, Mr. Pipes, along with his writings, should always be welcomed.”

—Sol Schindler, The Washington Times

The Long Shadow is a provocative and insightful tour through the pitfalls of Middle East politics, history and culture.”

—Steven L. Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal

“The book provides, in a single volume, a great deal of information on many important issues relating to the Middle East. . . .  It is recommended reading”

—Farzeen Nasri, Perspective

“Here is an entertaining and informative volume which establishes this well-known essayist as an important and authoritative commentator on all aspects of politics and policy affecting the Middle East. . . .  And - astonishingly - the book as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. . . .  Pipes’ method is a powerful statement in favor of knowledge about the language, culture, and history of the peoples about whom one is writing, especially in the Middle East. . . . The chapters flow in a thoroughly logical and coherent fashion and they produce two central themes. . . . Long before the position of the Muslims of Soviet Central Asia were making headlines, Pipes was already predicting their emergence from a quasi-colonial status. ”

—Middle East Insight, December 1989

“Uniformly well written, controversial, and tendentiously right wing. . . . The unifying theme is his contention that Muslim fundamentalist fanatics, Syrian and PLO ‘pan-Arabists,’ and the Soviet Union collaborate in a campaign seeking ‘the extirpation of Western civilization from the Middle East.’”

—Y. M. Sadowski, Choice

 “This is a book consisting of twenty-two essays written by a practiced hand. It represents, on a whole, a deft performance by a professional historian. . . . A book of such breadth and variety, covering such a wide range of interests, cannot be conveniently summarized or reduced to a single formula. . . .  Readers already familiar with Pipes’s occasional pieces will be grateful to find them here assembled in a single volume, to be read and enjoyed anew, while others who may not yet have come across his work as a publicist are bound to be impressed by the dazzling performance of a writer of formidable intellect and sharp critical acumen.”

—Alain Silvera, MESA Bulletin

“What distinguishes this volume from the hundreds of monographs on the Middle East is Pipes’ successful attempt to bring specialized topics and areas of research to the general reader. . . .  A valuable, penetrating overview of the major tensions and conflicts of the Middle East.”

—Paul Kerbel, Conservative Judaism

“22 papers and essays collected in The Long Shadow . . .  are valuable precisely in that they allow the reader the perspective needed in observing and appraising a situation so much in flux. . . .  The essays and papers collected in The Long Shadow . . .  are all instructive . . .  and some present surprises even for scholars of this region and its developments.”

—N.B. Argaman, The Jerusalem Post

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