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Cities of Salt Paperback – International Edition, July 17, 1989
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Top Customer Reviews
When the word "colonialism" is mentioned, we usually think of Africa, of India or Southeast Asia, or of the Spanish invasions of Central and South America. Secondarily we may (or should) remember the Anglo-Saxon deeds in North America and Australia. Even if we narrow the focus to the Middle East, our "take" on colonialism there usually derives from the British or French occupation of former Turkish territories.Read more ›
This first book covers the period roughly from the 1930s to 1950s. It begins with the pious, poor inhabitants of an oasis in the desert whose peace and social harmony are disrupted by the discovery of oil by American researchers who've been invited into the country. Six hundred pages later, it ends following a mass strike over injustice in the coastal city that's grown up around the pipeline to the interior. In between, it shows the impact of modernization brought about by the development of oil, from the locals' point of view. And the resentment caused by the presence of non-Muslims, the increasing materialism and loss of spiritual and communal values, and a backward, paternalistic local government that ignores the attendant social problems.
The technologically superior Americans, despite their practical competence and good intentions, are depicted in this book ultimately as the real villains, because of their foreignness, utter lack of understanding of the inhabitants' world, and the negative effects of the modernization they've set in motion.
A recurring pattern in the novel is that none of the parties involved comprehend the factors behind events that tie them all together, and none make an effort to understand the other. (One individual who's something of an exception disappears into the desert early in the novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An ammmmmaaaaaaaaaazing (amazing) novel. I cant wait to read the next two. great discovery.Published 6 months ago by Ozma Tahora
This book was surprisingly enjoyable. There are many characters just thrown at you and it takes time to adjust to the way its narrated but overall it was a nice novel/Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
My only complaint is that it is rather dense and sluggish at times. But overall, a very fascinating take on what happened in Saudi Arabia during oil discovery times.Published 9 months ago by International Traveler
I like reading books that are banned. I figure if a government goes to all the hassle to be so self-righteously offended by the politics of a particular novel, perhaps there’s... Read morePublished 14 months ago by JD
This was an unusual, but rewarding, reading experience for me. Cities of Salt, published by a Saudi Arabian/Jordanian author in 1984, is a very foreign novel to an American reader. Read morePublished 18 months ago by E. Smiley
This is one of the first of many I read about Arabia, the Empty Quarter & Bedouins. It is an excellent book which I am rereading but the heavy hard cover is really painful. Read morePublished 23 months ago by The Purple Bee
It is somewhere by the sea, somewhere on the hajj caravan route, and it is ruled by a Sultan. At that time telephone and radio were commonplace in the cities, Beirut and Damascus,... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Brenda Teese