Beirut

Front Cover
University of California Press, 2010 - History - 627 pages
3 Reviews
"Samir Kassir's "Beirut" is a passionate tour de force, a love letter to that sparkling capital that takes us on a careening ride through its history. It's a tale that reads like a novel, peopled by missionaries and city-builders, warlords and intellectuals, diplomats and clan leaders. And all along, we know how it ends: in Beirut's implosion into the senseless violence and civil war from which, sadly, it has never fully recovered. Epic in scope, Kassir's masterwork shows us Beirut in all its richness, from its vibrant past to its uncertain, shaky future."--Robert Dreyfuss, author of "Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam"
"Until the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975, Beirut was the unparalleled queen of the Eastern Mediterranean. In this panoramic work Samir Kassir invites us into 'the cosmopolitan capital of the Arabs', navigated through unearthing Beirut's Ottoman, Mandate, and post-independence past. Kassir's exquisite cultural history combines an erudite scholarship of urban form with an intimate reading of the city's collective biography. A truly exceptional work."--Salim Tamari, author of "Mountain Against the Sea: Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture"
"Samir Kassir has given us a memorable history of Beirut. His tribute to the city he loved, and in which he was killed, is a testament of great fidelity and truth. A work that never falters, an exquisite narrative of a city that has known both joy and heartbreak. The definitive history of this city that has juggled and brokered competing identities."--Fouad Ajami, author of "The Dream Palace of the Arabs"
"This is a fine book, accessible and well written, which will appeal to specialist and general readers alike. It explains why Beirut has been a byword not only for spasmodic violence, but also for some of the most interesting and important developments in the Middle East over the past two centuries. Balanced, tempered and learned, this book reminds us of how great a loss resulted from Samir Kassir's untimely death."--Rashid Khalidi, author of "Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East"
"Kassir was an unusual kind of martyr in today's Middle East, a staunch secularist who wanted to live in a free country, not to die for one. In a region driven increasingly by a politics of death and sacrifice, he stood for a vision of peaceful reform, progressive social change and democratic secularism--the values of any left worthy of the name."--Adam Shatz, in "The Nation"
  

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Review: Beirut

User Review  - Tony Gualtieri - Goodreads

I'm not sure why I'm drawn to histories of cities from the former Ottoman empire, but this is the fourth one I've read in the past two or three years. All of them are heartbreaking: cosmopolitan ... Read full review

Review: Beirut

User Review  - Ali - Goodreads

This is definitely worth a read to someone curious about the city, but it was not so well organized or thorough as expected. Read full review

Contents

PART ONE FROM THE ANCIENT TO THE MODERN WORLD
31
PART TWO THE AWAKENING
161
PART THREE THE CAPITAL OF THE MANDATE
249
PART FOUR THE COSMOPOLITAN METROPOLIS OF THE ARABS
345
PART FIVE THE CITY OF EVERY DANGER
437
EPILOGUE TO BE OR TO HAVE BEEN
521
Notes
549
Glossary of Arabic and Turkish Terms
583
Bibliography
589
Photographic Credits
601
Index
603
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

One of the leading voices for progressive change in the Middle East, Samir Kassir (1960-2005) taught at the Institut des Sciences Politiques of the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut, worked as a journalist and editorial writer for the daily An-Nahar newspaper there, and was a co-founder of the Democratic Left Movement in Lebanon. The author of several other books, including Being Arab, Kassir was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut in June 2005.

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