Pity the Nation

Pity the Nation : Lebanon at War

4.37 (1,477 ratings by Goodreads)
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This work should rank among the classics of war in our time, both as a historical document and as an eye-witness testament to human savagery. An epic study of the conflict in the Lebanon combining political analysis and war reporting that not only recounts the details of a terrible war, but also tells a story of betrayal and illusion, and of the Western blindness that has led inevitably to political and military catastrophe. Gunmen and collaborators, bomber pilots, diplomats, guerillas, feudal politicians, journalists, soldiers and kidnappers all fall under Fisk's critical, occasionally humorous, and often horrified scrutiny in this powerful account of a beautiful nation's demolition by foreign ambition and internal corruption. The work should appeal to those interested in the Middle East and its problems, and students of international politics.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 681 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 44mm | 618g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 3 maps, bibliography, index
  • 0192852353
  • 9780192852359

Review Text

An exhaustive study of Lebanese current events from a distinctly pro-Palestinian perspective. British journalist Fisk (Middle East correspondent for London's Times, 1976-1987) records and analyzes events in Lebanon with major attention given to the Israeli-Arab dispute. The book opens, therefore, not with Fisk's subsequent accounts of the Christian Maronites or the colonial French, but with visits to Auschwitz and the Yad Vashem museum in Israel. To Fisk, the Holocaust memorial "seemed somehow facile, an instrument of propaganda. . . to justify. . .all that Israel has done. . .a place of accusation against the Arabs of Palestine." Fisk sees a post-Holocaust Israel as the cause of the Arab-Israeli wars, the Palestinian refugee problem, terrorist bases in Lebanon, a spate of civil wars and invasions, and the undermining of Lebanon's precarious Moslem-Christian balance. In his ensuing litany of battles between Christian, Moslem, Druze, Palestinian, Iranian, and Syrian armies, and his reporting on various personages, including Yassir Arafat (". . . [his] three-day growth of beard was disturbing. It spoke of laxity and failure. . ."), the detailed, impassioned, and condemnatory writing is reserved for the Israel Defense Forces, the Phalangists, and the Americans. On the other hand, Fisk is so concerned with bad press given to Palestinian freedom fighters that his book's index lists 40 citations where the term "terrorist" is misused. The tiring buzz of axe-grinding is often interrupted by hair-raising war reportage and dramatic brushes with fellow Westerners like hostage Terry Anderson - but Fisk is no Thomas Friedman, and this opinionated book is no From Beirut to Jerusalem. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Table of contents

Sepia pictures on a wall - Szymon Datner and the ash pits of Auschwitz; the keys of Palestine - the foundation of Israel and the Palestinian diaspora; the pied piper of Damascus - the rise and fall of the Lebanese state; the garden of earthly delights - Syrians, Palestinians and Israelis in Lebanon 1976-8; the gentlemen from Marjayoun - the United Nations as a prisoner of Lebanon; let them come! - the armies of Lebanon prepare for war 1980-2; no white flags - Israel invades Lebanon June 1982; the gravedigger's diary - the Israeli siege of Beirut, June-July 1982; surgical precision - the Israeli bombing of Beirut, July-August 1982; dawn at midnight - the PLO leaves and the Israelis enter west Beirut, August-September 1982; terrorists - the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila camps, 16-18 September 1982; Pandora's box - under siege; the root - the return of the multinational force; Beirut addio - the humiliation of the West in Beirut; the retreat - the Israelis are forced out of southern Lebanon, 1983-5; wait for me - "Islamic Jihad" and the torment of Lebanon.show more

Rating details

1,477 ratings
4.37 out of 5 stars
5 55% (805)
4 32% (478)
3 10% (149)
2 2% (27)
1 1% (18)
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