The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs

Paperback Edward Burlingame Book

By (author) David Pryce-Jones

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  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee, Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 213mm x 38mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 15 March 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago
  • ISBN 10: 1566638267
  • ISBN 13: 9781566638265
  • Edition statement: 2009 ed.
  • Sales rank: 212,356

Product description

As the violence of the Middle East has come to America, many Westerners are stunned and confounded by this new form of mayhem that appears to be a feature of Arab societies. This important book explains how Arabs are closed in a circle defined by tribal, religious, and cultural traditions. David Pryce-Jones examines the forces which "drive the Arabs in their dealings with each other and with the West." In the postwar world, he argues, the Arabs reverted to age-old tribal and kinship structures, from which they have been unable to escape. In tribal society, loyalty is extended to close kin and other members of the tribe. The successful nation-state-the model that Westerners understand-generates broader loyalties, but the tribal world has no institutions that have evolved by common consent for the general good. Those who seek power achieve it by plotting secretly and ruthlessly eliminating their rivals. In the Arab world, violence is systemic. "This is a healthy corrective, a thought-provoking study. And Mr. Pryce-Jones has done his research, bringing a wealth of reading to his task; the book is extensively documented, with a good section of reference notes."-David K. Shipler, New York Times Book Review. "Acute insights into how the Middle East works, or fails to work. This is definitely a book to be read, if also one to be thought about carefully and rather critically."-David Morgan, Times Literary Supplement.

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Author information

David Pryce-Jones is the author of nineteen books of fiction and nonfiction, including The War That Never Was, Paris in the Third Reich, The Face of Defeat, and The Hungarian Revolution, as well as novels and literary biography. He lives in London.

Review quote

This is definitely a book to be read, if also one to be thought about carefully and rather critically. -- David Morgan Times Literary Supplement (UK) Powerful ... must be considered and appreciated even by those who think they disagree with it. -- Amos Elon A brilliant book. -- Hugh Nissenson A landmark for understanding the politics of the Middle East ... as brilliant as it is depressing. -- Daniel Pipes, director, Middle East Forum; author of Militant Islam Comes to America Refreshing ... most stimulating ... as with the best historical works, The Closed Circle is the outcome, and the resolution, of a puzzlement. -- Elie Kedourie A brilliant insight into the way Arab societies work. A healthy corrective, a thought-provoking study. -- David K. Shipler The New York Times Excellent. Having lived in Arabia for six years, I can say that this text superbly sets out the historical events that led us to the current situation today and explains many aspects of the culture that are misunderstood. -- Daniel Kirk, Macon State College