HERITAGE OF THE DESERT by Harry B. Ellis

HERITAGE OF THE DESERT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ellis follows for the Arab Middle East the pattern laid down by Gunther- with these differences. He crams in fewer facts and selects them more carefully; he emphasizes less individuals and personal habits than the overall complex of political-economic-social forces; his tendency is away from humor, local color, corioss, and toward the pervasive sense of desert life, historical roots, mass psychology. Though lar looms bulkily in Ellis' version of the Arab Middle East, this is a logical and necessary inclusion, and helps release what is undoubtedly the author's major talent- his capacity to portray the Middle East as a totality, with its tangled rivalries, mutual suspicion and greed, and the foreign influences which surround and threaten to destroy them. Granting that it is based on very slender evidence, the extent of Ellis' political shrewdness may be seen in this appraisal. Russia is now promoting war between the Arab States and Israel, believing that Israel must win and that then the weakened Arab States would be ripe for a Popular Front-type government and the gradual spread of communism. Not only for the ready-made Gunther audience, but for any follower of Middle Eastern affairs. Less sentimental than many of the books dealing with the Arab world, controversial in some of its conclusions, this meets some of the needs for an overall picture at the moment. Too bad the date raises the question of its immediacy, with history on the march.

Publisher: Ronald Press