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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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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