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Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf (Columbia/Hurst) Hardcover – November 11, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia/Hurst
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231700407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231700405
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 8.7 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This is an especially coherent and informative book.

(Foreign Affairs)

Louer is supremely qualified to write on the countries where Shiites constitute significant portions of the population... Highly recommended.

(CHOICE)

Review

Laurence Louër looks at the increasing visibility of Shiism beyond the stereotyped narratives of sectarian conflict, minority identity, and Iranian policy that are generally invoked to describe the character of Arab Shiism. She gives us a fascinating account of the related yet different historical processes that define Shiite politics and identity in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. From the economic and educational opportunities that ARAMCO offered its Shiite workers in Saudi Arabia to the nativist politics of Bahrain's majority; and from the merchant-led mobilization of Kuwaiti Shiism to the clerical origins of sectarian politics in Iraq, we are offered an incredibly detailed and refreshingly original narrative of Shiite activism in the region.

(Faisal Devji, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, author of The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kirk H Sowell on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Laurence Louer's "Transnational Shia Politics: Religious and Political Networks in the Gulf" is one of several books published in recent years to explain the Shia as the "Shia issue" has become of more than academic interest since 2003. I have read most of these books and done a fair amount of research in the original sources - mainly in Iraq and Saudi Arabia - and I consider Louer's to be the best. It is focused primarily on Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with significant background material on Iraq, so readers who are new to the topic might find Vali Nasr's "The Shia Revival" better as an introduction. But you will want to read this book if you are interested in either contemporary Shia politics or the Persian Gulf.

The book is divided into four parts of two chapters each, working more or less chronologically, jumping back and forth from Bahrain to Kuwait to Saudi Arabia interspersed with tie-ins to Iraq, where all the most influential contemporary Shia political movements originated. Louer is a researcher at the Centres d'Etudes et de Researches Internationales in Paris, and her primary sources are Arabic works written by Shia writers and extensive personal interviews. I don't think she makes good use of the online Arabic sources available - especially in the case of the Saudi Shia - and I question some of her judgments, but I've given the book five stars because it is easily the best book on the topic.

Part one, "The Shias and the State in the Gulf," mainly focuses on Bahrain and Kuwait. There was a time when what is now modern Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia were politically united, and this historical memory is important, although few Shia open openly support it's revival. Louer also reviews the historical memory of the Shia of Kuwait.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I. Khan on January 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know the state and history or Shia Sunni politics in the Gulf Countries,especially in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The author has gone to great lengths in finding historical facts about how these countries have handled this delicate balance of power. A must read if you are interested in the regional politics especially with respect to these countries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author does a good job sifting through centuries of conflict and getting at the core of the topic. Good read. Shipped extremely fast and packaged well. Definitely worth the purchase.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Arayedh on August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book gives a background about the history of shia in the gulf and talks in details about their position and viewpoints in regards to the ruling authorities. The book has lots of details about shia political icons and main players in Bahrain and Saudi which is really useful in analyzing the historical stance of shia clergymen and how did it develop.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karim Mansouri on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting book, if one is involved with the Shia's. It explains to some depth about the Shias mostly in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; and how they are united in a specific mission, that the Shias are cohesive in certain aspects, and, that the Shia generally are loyal to their religion before a government. There is more to it, but, it does lay out information to make up your own mind.
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