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A History of Modern Lebanon Paperback – January 20, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0745324371 ISBN-10: 0745324371

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (January 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745324371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745324371
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Skillfully weaving together social, political, cultural and economic history, this deeply informed and penetrating study provides a rich understanding of the vibrant, tragic, but ever hopeful Lebanese 'door to East and West', tracing the intricacies of this fascinating society to their historical roots and revealing the complex web that has emerged. It closes with the observation that 'a new period in the history of Lebanon had begun' in 1990, a period that has been marked by achievements and horrors, but with the promise for the better future that its people surely deserve. -- Noam Chomsky Fawwaz Trabulsi puts Lebanon's long war into a context that makes it comprehensible and, perhaps, inevitable. Everyone who is curious about that beautiful and tormented country should read his history, one of the best yet. -- Charles Glass, author of The Northern Front and The Tribes Triumphant This is a unique work. Traboulsi provides a compelling account of Lebanon,s emergence as a state, a critical appraisal of its autonomy, a pathbreaking analysis of its social origins in the intimate and ever changing relationship of caste and class. Traboulsi offers an unsparing critical examination of Lebanon,s recent political history. ... This work ... cannot be ignored. -- Irene Gendzier, Professor of History, Boston University

About the Author

Fawwaz Traboulsi is Associate Professor teaching history and politics at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He is the author of several books.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Hussain Abdul-Hussain on August 24, 2007
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There is something unique about this book. It does not only narrate Lebanon's historical events, it analyzes them from a socio-economic perspective. Traboulsi is not only a historian. He is a seasoned Lebanese political activist and partisan of the now-disbanded Organization of Communist Activity. Accordingly, a number of accounts in his book come from a person who was well-situated to learn about them firsthand.
Unlike the description of this book, it is not the only work on Lebanese history in the past forty years. However, the book is certainly the best recommended for first-time readers who have no or minimum background information on the subject.
Without going into great detail, the author assembles an enormous amount of information and presents it in this enjoyable read whose language was shaped by a talented Marlin Dick, one of the best Western journalists based in Lebanon.
For those who are familiar with other literature on the subject, this book brings together several themes drawn from Kamal Salibi's A House of Many Mansions, Samir Kassir's A History of Beirut as well as primary sources. Traboulsi deals well with archival material and other primary sources and conducts excellent research.
A History of Modern Lebanon (as opposed to Salibi's A Modern History of Lebanon), fixes the starting date of the state of Lebanon at the sixteenth century unlike other books that go into painstaking detail to narrate the history of this nation since ancient times.
From then on, Traboulsi ascends chronologically and his story reaches the Independence Intifada of 2005. At times, readers might feel that the author delves into irrelevant accounts. But overall, the book is coherent and offers substantiated arguments.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Cathey on September 20, 2010
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A HISTORY OF MODERN LEBANON by Fawwaz Traboulsi is a very good introduction to the structural aspects (economic, political, sectarian) of Lebanese history from the 1500s up to 1990, focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries. The reader learns much about the geopolitical and economic forces and movements that shaped the quest for autonomy among the diverse peoples of Lebanon. As a newcomer to this history, I would have appreciated learning something more about the persons, not only the social forces, who have shaped Lebanon's quest for freedom from the Ottoman empire, France, and more recently Syria. This edition of the book is a translation of a text originally written in Arabic into English. I found the author's narrative voice did not come across clearly and distinctly until Parts II and III that cover the 20th century. After the Postscript, there is a very helpful chronology, glossary, fulsome notes and bibliography. Given the use of Arabic terms and names in the text, a much fuller glossary would help, and a separate section on the main actors in Lebanese history with phonetic spelling or pronunciation hints about their names. Also more pictures of persons and places would enrich this useful text. Having taught undergraduates for nine years, I would recommend this book for introductory courses in the social sciences as a good example of a structural history of a people and region, and for introductory courses to the history of the Middle East. I would also recommend this book for courses with a postcolonial perspective on how nations became 'imagined' into being by western powers with little regard for regional and sectarian realities. After the Postscript I was left to wonder why the Lebanese how not yet fully secularized political representation in their society. As a scholar on my way to live in Beirut in fall 2010, I look forward to learning more about the unique perspectives and convictions of the Lebanese people.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rami H. Rajeh on June 12, 2009
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This book gives a detailed yet brief overview of Lebanon's history in a flowing and concise form. It sheds light on a Lebanon's various controversial phases in history, yet maintaining its objectivity. I recommend that anyone interested in the landmass called Lebanon to give this book a thorough read.
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By RON on November 5, 2012
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Excellent review of Lebabon and great er lebanon and greater Syria. I seems that there was very lttle bias but just the PlainOld Facts of our Beatiful Lebanon. I pray to a UNIVERSAL GOD For PEACE. RON
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