Passion and Politics

Sandra Mackey, Author Dutton Books $23 (464p) ISBN 978-0-525-93499-8
The author of The Saudis here explores in depth the Arab nations' relations with one another, with Israel and the West; she focuses on the volatile juxtaposition of Arab cultural unity and the internecine conflict of the Middle East. Readers will find informed and illuminating discussions of the late ``Arab Messiah,'' Egyptian president Gamal Nasser; Jordan's King Hussein (``a figure of tragic proportions whose poor, fragile kingdom never matched the considerable talents of its ruler''); and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, whom Mackay calls ``the most flawed and the most grand'' of Arab leaders. She discusses the House of Saud's decision to break the Arab world's great cultural taboo by inviting Western troops onto its soil during the Gulf war, and the ramifications of that decision. Mackay, a frequent commentator for the Cable News Network during the Gulf crisis, argues persuasively that U.S. foreign policy continues to ignore Arab problems and concerns in its narrow pursuit of oil-access advantage. Essential reading for those seeking to understand Arab history, culture, politics and psychology. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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