This masterly new work spans an entire epoch in the history of the contemporary Palestinian national movement, from the establishment of Israel in mandate Palestine in 1948, to the PLO-Israel accord of 1993. Contrary to the conventional view that national liberation movements proceed with state-building only after attaining independence, the case of the PLO shows that state-building may shape political institutionalization throughout the previous struggle, even in the absence of an autonomous territorial, economic, and social base. That is the central argument of this insightful study, which traces the political, ideological, and organizational evolution of the PLO and its constituent guerrilla groups. Taking the much-vaunted 'armed struggle' as its connecting theme, it shows how conflict was used to mobilize the mass constituency, assert particular discourses of revolution and nationalism, construct statist institutions, and establish the legitimacy of a new political class and bureaucratic elite. The book draws extensively on PLO archives, official publications and internal documents of the various guerilla groups, and over 400 interviews conducted by the author with the PLO rank-and-file. Its span, primary sources, and conceptual framework make this the definitive work on the subject.
`This book is likely to be the last word on the topic of Palestinian armed struggle, both because there is little to say beyond Yezid Sayigh's extensive chronicle and analysis, and because it examines a phase of Palestinian history that has definitively ended ... This work is monumental for reasons which go far beyond its hefty size, because of the intensive research involved ... Few authors could have brought to this task the necessary expertise and personal experience, combined with a critical faculty and apparently inexhaustible patience ... all serious students of the subject will appreciate this book's comprehensive analysis of the Palestinian national movement.' Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Journal, Vol 53, No 4, Autumn 1999 `The scope of Sayigh's work is staggering: 692 pages of text and 217 pages of footnotes. Had I not known it, I would have guessed that it had taken more than ten years to research and write. As such it is a scholarly book which should prove of immense value to other writers, journalists and serious readers. It is not one for cocktail-party gossip or the superficial interest of Middle East groupies ... Above all, it is in proffering precise and unemotional judgement that Sayigh excells ... an achievement which will be with us long after hundreds of books on the subject are forgotten.' The Spectator `Monumental new history of the Palestinian national movement.' Independent Magazine 24.1.98 `Sayigh put more than fifteen years work and a blend of empathy, experience, scholarship and dispassionate analysis into this book ... a monumental achievement, superseding all previous work on the subject ... Covering a complete era in Palestinian history and drawing on the best material in English, it is based primarily on an unprecedented array of documentary and oral sources in Arabic, including Yasser Arafat's personal archive and more than 400 interviews with high- and low-level activists. Even the most sensitive subjects are aired and examined. [MORE CONTINUED BELOW - WOULD NOT ALL FIT INTO SAME REVIEW QUOTE LINE]' Paul Taylor, Times Literary Supplement `[CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS TLS QUOTE - TO RUN ON FROM ABOVE] The major contribution of the book is that it presents a mass of new material and an extraordinarily detailed and coherent account of the history of the PNM from 1949 to 1993 ... This is warts and all history at its best ... A balanced testament to the Palestinian struggle, the book is also a measured but ultimately devastating critique of the Palestinian leadership and Yasser Arafat in particular ... Perhaps the leadership will ignore the lessons of history, but at least others now have the opportunity to learn from them.' Paul Taylor, Times Literary Supplement `'...this is a monumental work of scholarship, erudite, original, comprehensive, beautifully written and produced. It is a magnificent book on a huge schale... and will certainly be the definitive work on this subject for many years to come.'' Kuwait It is probably true that only a Palestinian with extraordinary access and skills could write an intimate and comprehensive history of the PNM since 1949. Yezid Sayigh is perhaps uniquely qualified for the task. Sayigh put more than fifteen years work and a blend of empathy, experience, scholarship and dispassionate analysis into this book - a monumental achievement, superseding all previous work on the subject. The major contribution of the book is that it presents a mass of new material and an extraordinarily detailed an coherent account of the history of the PNM from 1949 to 1993. - Paul Lalor. Times Literary Supplement. 24 April 1998. ...definitive study of the armed struggle. - The Economist. 16/5/1998 exceptionally detailed account of internal Palestinian decision making in the face of a generally hostile and unforgiving external environment./ ... it is comprehensive, drawing on an impressive range of primary sources, and unlikely to be surpassed./ Roland Dannreuther, lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh, THES, 04/06/99 the book is a valuable reference source in itself, with over a quarter of its pages devoted to notes, a bibliography and index. Sayigh has made a major contribution to the understanding of Palestinian politics and strategy since Israel became a state. - AM Journal of Peace Research. July 1998. Through meticulous examination of recently declassifed documents and other archival materials, these Jewish-Israeli academics have rewritten the history of Israel's early years...nearly encyclopaedic in its detail. Armed Struggle and the Search for State will remain the definitive English-language study of the political history of the Palestinian national movement for years to come. - Glenn Robinson. Survival. Autumn 1998. "...stimulating and meticulous study..." "As well as providing a detailed historical account of the background to these developments, Sayigh has also succeeded in providing a satisfying intellectual framework for understanding the processes which have carried forward the narrative of Palestinian identity and state formation during the years of dispersal." C. Tripp, Middle Eastern Studies, 2000 "This book is likely to be the last word on the topic of Paletinian armed struggle..." "The product of [Sayigh's] prodigious effort is comprehensive and complete, and may indeed be unique in terms of its combination of careful scholarship and an inside perspective." Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Journal, 2000 `Yezid Sayigh's magisterial study of the Palestinian armed struggle ... This is a book of Tolstoyan scale, massive, detailed, across whose pages stride a complex cast of characters with multiple names. ... an encyclopaedic history of the Palestinian national movement after the 1948 war. ... an important political study of the role of the armed struggle in State formation critical for an understanding of the Palestinian National Authority today. ... Sayigh's account is balanced in all ways. His writing shows remarkable detachment and avoids partisanship. ... The narrative is also very balanced in its coverage. There is no weak section to the book in which the documentation falls short of Sayigh's consistently high standard. The documentation confirms this book's standing as the definitive study of the Palestinian movement against which all subsequent works will be judged.' Eugene Rogan, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Number Of Pages: 990
Published: 1st October 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.6 x 4.9
Weight (kg): 1.39