LEGACY OF THE DESERT: Understanding the Arabs by Jules Archer

LEGACY OF THE DESERT: Understanding the Arabs

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Assuming that his readers know little or nothing of the Arab viewpoint, Archer proposes to plead their case, beginning with the history of the Rise of Islam, the humiliation of Turkish takeover during the Ottoman Empire (which, he says, led in turn to the further subjugation of women), and the ""streak of emotionalism"" and rich linguistic heritage which he sees as dominant strains of the Arab culture. Surprisingly, it is on the touchstone issues of Palestinian refugees and Israeli confiscation of Palestinian property that the defense is strongest: Archer argues largely through the naive statements of Zionists, such as David Ben Gurion's 1917 declaration that Palestine was ""in a historical and moral sense. . . a country without inhabitants."" For readers who have little idea of, say, the influence of Nasser on Arab nationalism, or of social and political differences within the Arab bloc, Archer's outline should be required reading. And though Archer doesn't claim to present both sides of Arab-Israeli differences, his essay is one of the more objective and nonrhetorical introductions available--and the only really thorough discussion on a level significantly easier than Goode's The Prophet and the Revolutionary (1975).

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1976
Publisher: Little, Brown