The Middle East has changed clearly, substantially, and dramatically during the last decade. Yet scholarly and public understanding lags far behind recent events. Barry Rubin's historical and political summation of the region shows how events and ideas have both shaped and altered its character. Three interlinked themes are crucial to the book.
First, a reinterpretation of the era of recent upheaval the Middle East has just passed through, which the author calls the Era of Radical Expectations. During that period, many Arabs believed that some leader, country, or radical movement would unite the region, solving all its problems. Second, an evaluation of how the historical experience of the period between the 1940s and the 1990s undermined the old system, making change necessary. Third, an analysis of the region today that explains future developments, in what the author terms the Era of Reluctant Pragmatism, as the Middle Eastern societies determine their relationships to the West.
About the Author
Barry Rubin is Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herziliya, Israel, and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs. He is the author of 16 books on the Middle East and has edited another 17 that include the widely reviewed and acclaimed The Transformation of Palestinian Politics and The Israel-Arab Reader.
'Drawing on his decades of researching the region and his 18 earlier books, Rubin has produced a magisterial overview of the contemporary Middle East. Highly recommended.' Choice 'Powerfully persuasive. All academic libraries and large public libraries should quickly add this cogent, troubling and inexpensive monograph to their collections.' Catholic Library World '... an important, spirited, mature meditation on the historical baggage of the modern Middle East.' Fouad Ajami, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University '... brilliant ...' Middle East Quarterly 'The Tragedy of the Middle East could be the political book most hated by Arabs since Rafael Patai's The Arab Mind in 1973...the book is a powerful one.' The Washington Post 'Barry Rubin has written an important, spirited, mature meditation on the historical baggage of the modern Middle East. It asks the right questions about what ails modern Middle East societies. It has sweep and thoroughness. It is not severe in tone, more resigned than judgmental ... I find in it a fine balance between concrete, specific data and wider theoretical concerns about politics and culture. Dr Rubin is a prolific author with wide experience, and this book draws on the work and judgment of a seasoned scholar. Free of jargon, written with considerable clarity and force, this book will earn its place and make its way in the current debate about the ordeal of modernity in that tormented region. Its chapters on anti-Americanism and the 'uncivil society' are quite smart and go against the conventional wisdom. This is an engaging book by an engaged author who really cares about his material and his subject.' Fouad Ajami, The John Hopkins University