A timely, provocative study for both novices and experts in Middle Eastern affairs.


2020 The Fall of Islamic States


A bold assessment of both the troubled past and, potentially, more harmonious future of the Middle East.

Chamanara’s (Perplexity of Iran, 2012, etc.) book bucks the current trend of seeing peace in the Middle East as a childish fantasy contradicted by a long, relentless history of ethnic and sectarian conflict. On the contrary, the author argues, the history of the region—particularly of Iran—demonstrates that it already contains the promise of a new, less contentious future. Chamanara sees Iran as being on the precipice of wholesale transformation, its youthful citizenry distempered by simmering unrest and emboldened by increased education and technology. They’re close to fed up with authoritarian rule, he says. Chamanara envisions a future Iran that adopts a new constitution, secularizes the law, and joins an economic pact with Israel and Armenia. This revolution, particularly the diminishment of theocratic rule, will begin a domino effect that sweeps across the whole of the Middle East. “Once the influence of religion is removed—specially, when the government and religion are one, and when there is no economic pressure—people show their true feelings towards each other,” he writes. “The true feeling of people counts. Otherwise, throughout history, one sees people behaving differently and badly in cruel periods of time.” In addition to offering a helpful introduction to the history of the Middle East, Chamanara makes intelligible the differences among Shia, Sunni, and Salafi; explains the rise of the Islamic State group; and questions the real political significance of the Iranian presidency. Unafraid of controversy, he also contends, with no shortage of evidence, that the Jewish people count as Iran’s “natural ally.” Underlying the entire book is an important reminder that Iran, now a political backwater, was once the crucible of world civilization and a leader in art, science, and commerce. Historically informed and fundamentally optimistic, this plainly written book is a refreshing contribution to Middle East studies.

A timely, provocative study for both novices and experts in Middle Eastern affairs.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59584- 500-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ketab Corp.

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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