THE ARABS: Their History, Aims and Challenge to the Industrialized World by Thomas Kiernan

THE ARABS: Their History, Aims and Challenge to the Industrialized World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kiernan promises to ""simply try to present the Arab point of view as it is presented to me. . . but the book will not be a conduit for Arab rhetoric."" But given his remarkable ignorance of the Middle East, it often degenerates into the latter. Chapters alternate between ""History,"" a review of the Middle East's past and ""Journal,"" Kieman's own firsthand observations and interviews in the Arab world. There are some good moments--an encounter with a Saudi Arabian Bedouin, interviews with social scientists who analyze the Arab character, and a seminar in which the Arab participants conclude that they will be the world's next rulers. Unfortunately, this is all wrapped in a monumental amount of misinformation. Kiernan credits the ancient Egyptians with monotheism and contends that Judeo-Christian religions come from a ""common proto-Arab source."" He flatly asserts claims which no reputable specialist would accept: that European Jews are descended from the Khazars; that British authorities administering the U.N. mandate ""invariably supported Zionist claims""; that the 1937 Peel Commission, which offered the Arabs 90% of the land, gave Jews ""the rich northern coastal plain and the Arabs the dry southern desert region""; that the PLO's aim is ""establishment of a secular Arab-Jewish binational state""--this although the PLO has never accepted binationalism. Kiernan's book can only succeed in muddying the already complex issues of the Middle East.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1975
Publisher: Little, Brown