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Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters [Kindle Edition]

James Zogby
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
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Book Description

The Arab World is a region that has been vastly misunderstood in the West. Arab Voices asks the questions, collects the answers, and shares the results that will help us see Arabs clearly. The book will bring into stark relief the myths, assumptions, and biases that hold us back from understanding this important people. Here, James Zogby debuts a brand new, comprehensive poll, bringing numbers to life so that we can base policy and perception on the real world, rather than on a conjured reality.

Based on a new poll run by Zogby International exclusively for this book, some of the surprising results revealed include:

* Despite the frustration with the peace process and the number of wars of the past few years, 74% of Arabs still support a
  two state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And over one-third of Lebanese, Saudis, and Jordanians think that their governments should do more to advance peace.

* Despite wars in and around their region and the worldwide economic crisis, when asked “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” 42% of those polled say they are better off, 19% worse off.

* Arabs like American people (59% favorable rating), values (52%) and products (69%), giving them all high ratings. And Canada gets high favorability ratings everywhere (an overall rating of 55% favorable and 32% unfavorable).

* However, Arabs overwhelmingly rate American society  “more violent and war-like” (77%) or “less respectful of the rights ofothers” (78%) than their own society. Why? Because of the Iraq war and continuing fallout from Abu Ghraib,Guantanamo, and the treatment of Arab and Muslim immigrants and visitors to the United States.

* What type of TV show do Saudis and Egyptians prefer to watch? The answer is, “Movies”, which draws over 50% of the first and second choice votes. In Morocco, the top rated shows are “soap operas” and music and entertainment programs, drawing almost two-thirds of the first and second choice votes. Religious programs are near the bottom of the list of viewer preferences, garnering less than 10% of votes in all three countries.

Editorial Reviews


“Persuasively illustrates…that Americans tend to project their fears and desires onto Arabs and Muslims rather than searching for common ground…It’s hard to deny the validity of Zogby’s larger argument. To succeed in the Middle East, the United States needs to listen more to actual Arab voices, and not let preconceived myths about the Muslim world dictate policy.”—The New York Times Sunday Book Review

“An informative and readable book that avoids the reductionism, demonology, and victimology that all too often taint treatment of this subject.”—Foreign Affairs

"Jim Zogby has written an essential and enlightening book on Arab opinion. Arab Voices is a must read for anyone who wants to hear true voices from the Arab world."--Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

"Arab Voices is a breakthrough book. Finally, after decades of relentlessly ignorant or bigoted stereotyping of the so-called ‘Arab Mind’—often a form of anti-Semitism against Arabs—by partisans having other agendas, James Zogby responds. He presents the results of intensive polling, within historical, political and cultural contexts, in an engrossing search for accuracy, fairness and truth. Let’s see if the slanted press and the wrathful cable-talk radio hosts can tolerate giving this book and its calm author a chance to correct the record."--Ralph Nader

Arab Voices distills Jim Zogby’s lifetime of immersion in a central issue of our times—how can America and the Arab world can find the right path forward? Well-written, provocative, and peppered with vivid anecdotes and surprising data, this is essential reading for anyone seeking to penetrate the myths surrounding the Middle East.”--Richard North Patterson

"The need for United States engagement in the Middle East has never been greater, and I believe it is essential that ...

About the Author

James Zogby is founder and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Arab American Institute and a senior advisor to the polling firm Zogby International. He writes a weekly column that appears in twenty Arab newspapers and hosts a weekly call-in discussion program on Abu Dhabi television. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Democratic National Committee, and co-chair of the DNC’s Resolutions Committee, he and his wife Eileen live in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

  • File Size: 717 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043D2BYI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,418 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, insightful, important October 12, 2010
By Sandy
In an era in which Arab has become a four-letter word, Zogby presents withthe very voices we as Americans have chosen to ignore. How can we expect to understand a vast swath of the world if we have predetermined what we think they believe, what motivates them? Zogby asks us instead to listen. This book uses hard data collected from thousands of interviews conducted during numerous polls across the Arab region, coupled with personal anecdotes, to draw a much clearer picture of why our policies in the Middle East have not worked in the past. It also offers insights on how we can choose to approach the region differently in the future. I consider myself to be a fairly informed reader and yet found myself having frequent "aha" moments throughout reading this book. I was also shocked by some of what I read, including the fact that 65% of Americans believe Iran is an Arab country or that only 37% can identify 1948 as the year of Israel's War of Independence. If you ever felt like you needed to know more about what Arabs are thinking and feeling this book will be invaluable.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have just read "Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us and Why it Matters" written by James Zogby.

This excellent book should be on everyone's "must read" list!!

The polling information from Zogby International was carefully analyzed and distilled into a current primer of Arab opinion. Mr Zogby's analysis of this polling data coupled with his own personal experiences and involvement makes it possible to clearly understand the Arab world view. I also feel that this book is a must read for the (too) large numbers of Americans who do not understand the feelings and realities of the Arab world.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read October 12, 2010
By Ossama
Add my voice to those ascertaining that Arab Voices is "a must read". Jim brings the scenes, the streets, the schools, the studios to our beds and desks. We read the pleas, we feel the pressure, we learn of biases, we hear the voices - and hope that one day everyone will. Debates, debacles, defamation and cultural demagoguery play vividly. We relive what we have witnessed, we visualize what we have missed.

The Yemeni girl bumps into a grill isolating the playground of understanding from those who innocently wished to partake. She is no more relevant than the half a million children Madeleine Albright would sacrifice, blockade. Infamous influencers - Friedman, Wilders, Beck, Pat, Patai and Pipe lay barren their hearts and minds as they describe the Arab Mind. None is pretty.

Speaking of Arab American Minds: Edward Said and Khalil Gibran now mean something more to me than what I knew: the former after reading his beautiful quote, and the latter after learning of the "Brooklyn Madrassa" masterpiece described in the book.

In memory of Mr. Zogby's father, I will always try to smell the peaches, and remember.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arab Voices--loud and clear December 7, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
James Zogby speaks with a uniquely qualified voice about the Arab experience in both the Middle East and the USA. Son of a Lebanese immigrant of very modest fortune, he and his brother John (Zogby International polls) exemplify the American Dream of achieving success through competence and hard work. Straight-talking but never strident, he discusses prejudice against Arabs and the desperate need for basic understanding--too often deliberately discouraged by hostile domestic influences--about Arab peoples, their history, language, culture, aspirations.

Zogby's analysis of cases where willful ignorance and bias have botched U.S. actions and interests--Iraq, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine--provides a concise education in what went wrong and why, supported by numerous references to actual, eye-opening polls of opinion in Arab countries. This book should be on the desk--and in the hands--of everyone involved with Middle East policy. It is also an immensely valuable source of information and insight for schools, libraries, and anyone who cares about the health of American civil society.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent November 13, 2010
By dk
An excellent book - not overly academic, not preachy, just an open discussion of a people too-often portrayed from just one side (whichever side it may be). Zogby's writing style is much like his interview style -- uncomplicated, insightful, and intriguing.

Anyone interested in the Middle East --from a foreign relations, business, or cultural perspective-- should get & read this book. Immediately!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful analysis December 10, 2010
Zogby, a name associated for years with polling, is also the name of the author of a new book, "Arab Voices". James Zogby, the family member here, has written a thoughtful book about how Arabs view Americans, themselves and their future.
At the outset, it may seem a moot point when Zogby speaks about listening to Arabs and their concerns. Without a doubt, that's true. But he underscores why that's important...from Arab stereotyping to the disastrous consequences that befell both the United States and the Arab world due to the Iraq War. The author pounces on so-called "experts", (he's not a big fan of Thomas L. Friedman, for example) and using his own background as an Arab-American, Zogby goes on to reveal an in-depth look at the world as seen through Arab eyes.

Divided into two dispelling Arab myths and the other presenting current situations in four Arab countries, Zobgy uses polling data to explore just how Arabs feel. Had that been more of a goal during the Bush administration one wonders how much good could have been accomplished and how much unnecessary bloodshed could have been avoided.

"Arab Voices" is sensible and timely. If American policy towards the Arab world is going to change, President Obama will have to take more charge. I highly recommend this book for its calm tone and insight.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Despite One Glaring Error, Fascinating Look at Arab Public Opinion
President Bush was fond of saying "they hate us for our freedoms..." Yet Zogby uses actual polling to put the lie to this idea. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sanger Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
I read this book and learned A LOT! I believe myself as an open minded person, but learned I wasn't as open as I thought. This is a great way to really truly understand Arabs. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Shell
5.0 out of 5 stars Arab Voices
Great polling research supports all of the points put forth by James Zogby in this book. I recently heard a talk by him. Read more
Published 16 months ago by brenda
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
This is an easy read of material that is not always that easy to sit with. For folks who want to know what others are saying, thinking, or writing about the American culture, this... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Sandra D. Lipsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this
Dr. Zogby tries to dispel nearly 100 years of stereotypical impressions of the Arab people (a term somewhat akin to South American people or Asian people, etc. Read more
Published on November 6, 2012 by G. Bloomer
4.0 out of 5 stars Reflections informed and often poignant, but not always convincing
This book presents the well informed and often poignant reflections of one Arab American who has thought a good deal about the issues that Arabs face in America and the bridge they... Read more
Published on October 25, 2011 by James Dabney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great contemporary Arab perspective
Dr. Zogby provides a perspective that is all too rare in American commentary--a perspective from the Arab World. Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Very Insightful Book
This is a very fact driven book based on excellent polling of the Arab countries coupled with Dr. Zogby's deep knowledge of the Arab countries, traditions, values and the Policies... Read more
Published on January 16, 2011 by BB007
5.0 out of 5 stars Voices from The Arab World
Dr. James Zogby is a highly qualified American voice to write this book: Arab Voices-What They Are Saying to Us, And Why It Matters. Read more
Published on December 24, 2010 by Pam Sahara
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
Fans of this author are not surprised that he would produce such important work. Arab Voices borrows equally from the study of history, anthropology, sociology, statistics, and... Read more
Published on November 30, 2010 by James Allen
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More About the Author

Dr. James J. Zogby is the author of Arab Voices (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2010) and the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Since 1985, Dr. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S. Through voter registration, education and mobilization, AAI has moved Arab Americans into the political mainstream.

For the past three decades, Dr. Zogby has been involved in a full range of Arab American issues. A co-founder and chairman of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the late 1970s, he later co-founded and served as the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. In 1982, he co-founded Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, humanitarian and non-sectarian relief organization which funds health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war, and other social welfare projects in Lebanon. In 1985, Zogby founded AAI.

In 1993, following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in Washington, he was asked by Vice President Al Gore to lead Builders for Peace, a private sector committee to promote U.S. business investment in the West Bank and Gaza. In his capacity as co-president of Builders, Zogby frequently traveled to the Middle East with delegations led by Vice President Gore and late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. In 1994, with former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine, his colleague as co-president of Builders, Zogby led a U.S. delegation to the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in Cairo. Zogby also chaired a forum on the Palestinian economy at the Casablanca Economic Summit in 1994. After 1994, through Builders, Zogby worked with a number of US agencies to promote and support Palestinian economic development, including AID, OPIC, USTDA, and the Departments of State and Commerce.

Dr. Zogby has also been personally active in U.S. politics for many years; in 1984 and 1988 he served as Deputy Campaign manager and Senior Advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. Most recently, in 1995 DNC Chairman Don Fowler appointed Zogby as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee (NDECC), an umbrella organization of Democratic Party leaders of European and Mediterranean descent. In 1999 and 2001 he was reelected to that post. Also in 2001, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 2006 was also named Co-Chair of the DNC's Resolutions Committee.

A lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues, U.S.-Arab relations, and the history of the Arab American community, Dr. Zogby appears frequently on television and radio. He has appeared as a regular guest on all the major network news programs. After hosting the popular "A Capital View" on the Arab Network of America from 1993-2001. From 2001 until now he hosts the award winning "Viewpoint with James Zogby" on Abu Dhabi Television, LinkTV, Dish Network, and DirecTV.

Since 1992, Dr. Zogby has also written a weekly column on U.S. politics for the major newspapers of the Arab world. The column, "Washington Watch," is currently published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He has authored a number of books including two publications, "What Ethnic Americans Really Think" and "What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns."

Dr. Zogby has testified before U.S. House and Senate committees, has been guest speaker on a number of occasions in the Secretary's Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State, and has addressed the United Nations and other international forums.

Dr. Zogby is also active professionally beyond his involvement with the Arab American community. He currently serves on the national advisory board of the American Civil Liberties Union, The Human Rights Watch Board of Directors for the Middle East and North Africa and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Additionally, he is a Senior Advisor for the polling firm Zogby International, where he is responsible for the firm's groundbreaking polling across the Middle East.

In 1975, Dr. Zogby received his doctorate from Temple University's Department of Religion, where he studied under the Islamic scholar Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University in 1976, and on several occasions was awarded grants for research and writing by the Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Defense Education Act, and the Mellon Foundation. Dr. Zogby received a Bachelor of Arts from Le Moyne College. In 1995, Le Moyne awarded Zogby an honorary doctoral of laws degree, and in 1997 named him the college's outstanding alumnus. In 2007 Temple University's College of Liberal Arts named him its Distinguished Alum.

Dr. Zogby is married to Eileen Patricia McMahon and is the father of five children. Zogby's mother, Cecilia Ann, was a woman committed to religion, family, education, and service of others. Click here for Dr. Zogby's January 1999 reflections on the "Zogby Matriarch."


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