Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East

David Hirst, Author . Nation $29.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-56858-422-5

A former Middle Eastern correspondent for the Guardian , Hirst (The Gun and the Olive Branch ) chronicles the travails of modern Lebanon in this provocative polemic that doubles “as a history of the Arab-Israeli struggle.” Given Lebanon's tiny size, sectarian polity, and strategic location in a volatile region, Hirst observes that it “was almost designed to be the everlasting battleground for others' political, strategic and ideological conflicts.” Lebanon's role in “the struggle for Palestine,” however, is the author's primary interest. Displaced Palestinians flooded into southern Lebanon following the first Arab-Israeli War (1948) and spawned a “guerilla 'state-within-a-state' ” on Israel's northern border. Hirst is solidly in the Palestinians' corner throughout; he inveighs against Israeli policies of “ethnic cleansing” and blocking progress toward a settlement of the Palestinian issue. The author also faults the United States for its “deference to all things Israeli”; takes to task Israel and the Israeli lobby in the U.S. for provoking the 2003 invasion of Iraq; and anoints the Iranians as “the only true victor” of America's war in Iraq. Hirst's is a passionately partisan and eloquent recounting of the tragic fate of modern Lebanon and the Palestinian people. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/22/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-56858-657-1
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-0-571-23741-8
Paperback - 804 pages - 978-1-4596-0016-4
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-571-23742-5
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