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Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes Paperback – March 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117011
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Victoria Clark is a former correspondent and Moscow bureau chief for the Observer. She now works as a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to the Independent, Prospect magazine, and the Tablet.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I would definitely recommend this book to any one with the remotest interest in Yemen.
N. Murched
A souk is indeed fascinating, just as a good shopping mall is fascinating, but it isn't at all exotic; it caters to the needs and desires of those who frequent it.
Victor A. Vyssotsky
It also aptly describes the mounting difficulties of President Saleh's regime to come to grips with the ever increasing challenges to the country's stability.
Reuss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By H. Thompson on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
A colorful, accessible and entertaining read, Victoria Clark's book fills a yawning gap as the only current portrait of Yemen that sits between the very few distinctly academic and impenetrable tomes and the equally sparse but more popular anecdotal/travel reading. She's painstakingly combined her journalist's eye for the telling detail with a very carefully-researched distillation of Yemen's history and current condition. The two sections add up to an overall impression that is essential for any well-informed debate on Yemen and its rather rapidly unfolding future. Clark manages to set Yemen in the context of its past, and describe the current structures without laying out a prescriptive analysis: this is left to the reader. The book is finely referenced, and contains a fine bibliography and index. Essential.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By LINA A. AL-ERYANI on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I agree with one of the reviewers who described this book as: "accessible and entertaining read" because this is exactly what it is, upon reading this book, you should be aware that many historical events included are not accurate as the writer failed to check her facts which is significant in any book that claim to highlight "Yemen's history and politics". What is also amazing is the fact this book was highly reviewed, only Shelagh Weir, see: [...] commented on the fact that the historical events were e not accurate. From my side, I found the following glaring examples: It was mentioned that Al-Iryani was a president from 1969, the fact is he was a president from 1967. The writer aid he was in prison for 15 years, he was in prison for seven years. These are just some of the examples of inaccurate information included in this book. I am really amazed how a respectable publishing house: Yale University Press, publish such a book, without ensuring that the historical event are correct, I was under the impression that any book is reviewed by a subject expert reviewer before endorsing it for publications? Apparently NOT.
Another reviewer described Clark writing as" a very carefully-researched distillation of Yemen's history" I am sorry to say as both a post graduate of Yemeni history and a Yemeni citizen, I failed to see his point, in fact the opposite was true. The writer should have put introductory statement clearly that this is a travel book and it does not by any means depict the true and factual history of Yemen that would have maintained her credibility and showed her respect for her readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Murched on June 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very insightful look into Yemen's history and politics. I have done a great deal of research on Yemen, and this book brings everything together. It is amazing how the author has detailed so much of Yemen's social behaviors with pin point precession. I lived in Yemen for about 12 years, and Ms. Clark amazed me with some of the detail that she put in her book about Yemenis that I seen first hand. I would definitely recommend this book to any one with the remotest interest in Yemen. I have bought several copies and given them to others. Great Job Ms. Clark!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E.T.Kirke on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because i wanted to know about the country vilified in the press as a Al Qaeda hornet nest. In this, Clark delivers the goods. It is packed with information, starting from the time the country was a backwater Ottoman territory, progressing through the periods when it was a British colony and Yemen's Cold War status when it was seperated into two states, until the current unification and rule of Saleh. Allthough written before the current political upheavel in Yemen and the wider Middle East, Clark's treatment of the Al Qaeda/Jihadi threat, the North/South divide and the attempts by South Yemeni secessionists to break up the country demonstrates that even back then it was known that this was a timebomb waiting to explode.

One particular strong point is the fact that she relays personal anecdotes she has experienced in travelling around the country as a literary tool to describe Yemeni society, thus making it less academic and impersonal.

If you want to learn about Yemen's history, culture, tribes and its role in regional and global politics, then this book is required reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book for those willing to have a better view on social, cultural and business environment within the Middle East with Yemen representing probably one of the extreme sides in a number of areas. Coming from Europe, I felt that this book helped me to have more understanding on the drivers of agression from this region against the West, which appear to be rather logical and justified from the angle of people living there, while being illogical and punishable from the Western point of view.
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By Reuss on June 15, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is simply a must-read for everyone who is interested - privately or professionally - in Yemen. It is well researched and contains aspects which might not be so well known (e.g. concerning the circumstances around the country's unification). It also aptly describes the mounting difficulties of President Saleh's regime to come to grips with the ever increasing challenges to the country's stability.
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By Pigstick on September 11, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I was looking for a book on Yemen and read the review in the Economist which strongly recommended it. I also thoroughly recommend it as a backgrounder on a country that keeps being mentioned as soon as AQ and or terrorism crops up. It is very readable and the author blends historical information with people she meets up with in a competent manner to keep the story rolling.
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