Most helpful positive review
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Powerful, essential to understanding modern Lebanon
on 15 December 2006
Probably one of the most powerful books I have ever read, Fisk gets to the heart of Lebanon and all of its diversity.
I found this book intellectually satisfying in that at its conclusion I felt I finally had a grasp of how the country's complex political arrangements actually work. This has really helped to provide some context to the ongoing turmoil in Lebanon and the region. The book also made an impact on an emotional level as I felt a real pang of terror during the recent Hezbollah-Israeli conflict, as if someone I know personally were being violated. A powerful book, indeed.
Fisk writes from and about Lebanon from the point of view of a transplanted native. This is what gives his writing its passion, but also its shall we say "non-mainstream" perspective. One assumes the average reader is intelligent enough to take this into account in developing one's own views on the many conflicts the book describes.
This is one of two books most often recommended as introductions to the study of Lebanon and especially its relationship with Israel, the other being Thomas Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem". Friedman's book is the more readable for a general audience; Fisk's intense work is for those who really want to delve deeply into the subject.