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The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey [Format Kindle]

Fouad Ajami

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"An important and illuminating book . . . a valuable testament to a tragic generation that tried to bridge the Arab past with modern ideals." --The New York Times

"The Dream Palace of the Arabs is an absorbing and sadly moving account of what political and economic failures on a grand scale have meant in human terms and at an individual level." --The Washington Post Book World

"Eloquent. . . . A clear-eyed look at the lost hopes of the Arabs. It opens the door to the thought processes of a society whose motivations have been little understood and often feared. The Dream Palace of the Arabs is a courageous book." --The Christian Science Monitor

Présentation de l'éditeur

From Fouad Ajami, an acclaimed author and chronicler of Arab politics, comes a compelling account of how a generation of Arab intellectuals tried to introduce cultural renewals in their homelands through the forces of modernity and secularism. Ultimately, they came to face disappointment, exile, and, on occasion, death. Brilliantly weaving together the strands of a tumultuous century in Arab political thought, history, and poetry, Ajami takes us from the ruins of Beirut's once glittering metropolis to the land of Egypt, where struggle rages between a modernist impulse and an Islamist insurgency, from Nasser's pan-Arab nationalist ambitions to the emergence of an uneasy Pax Americana in Arab lands, from the triumphalism of the Gulf War to the continuing anguished debate over the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

For anyone who seeks to understand the Middle East, here is an insider's unflinching analysis of the collision between intellectual life and political realities in the Arab world today.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3560 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 368 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage; Édition : 1st Vintage Books Ed (22 septembre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°666.955 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires en ligne

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  22 commentaires
51 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 a look inside 22 décembre 2001
Par simpcity - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
(...) I know very little about Arabic literature and poetry, and I have not read extensively about the "Middle East." Once the bar is set at that level, however, I found this book quite approachable.
The Dream Palace of the Arabs focusses on a particular time and space in the Arab world--the brief rise of Nasserism and nationalism generally and its subsequent collapse into bitterness. There is much great contemporary relavance in this 1998 work.
Ajami gives us Beirut and Lebanon, both before and during the terrible war; and he takes us into its rich literary world. He discusses the First and Second Gulf Wars [Iran-Iraq war and Desert Storm], explains the subtext of shia/sunni conflict, tells us a bit about Kuwait and a great deal about Saddam Hussein.
My favorite part of the book is the chapter "In the Land of Egypt." The last chapter "The Orphaned Peace" takes us to the heart of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, post-Oslo to the birth of the Palestinian Authority. Despite the tragedies and sorrows encountered in this book, I was left hopeful for peace.
Not conventional history I suppose, but a fine intellectual history of the last half-century in the Arab world. Inspires me to read some Naguib Mahfuz, where I go next on my journey through amazon...
32 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Obituary for a modernizing generation 28 septembre 2004
Par N. Tsafos - Publié sur Amazon.com
The extremism that seems to pervade the Middle East is neither the region's predestined endpoint nor is it a historical inevitability-rather, it is a condition that sprung out from the failure of a great generation of reformers and free-thinkers that lived in the middle of the twentieth century, and whose passing away by the 1990s marked the triumph of theocracy and backwardness in the Middle East.

"The Dream Palace of the Arabs" is the sequel to the "Arab Predicament," which Fouad Ajami, a Lebanese professor at Johns Hopkins, published in 1980; back then, Mr. Ajami was younger and "approached [his] material more eager to judge." In the "Arab Predicament," he bemoaned the Arab political experience; in "The Dream Place of the Arabs" he tries to "appreciate what had gone into the edifice that Arabs had built."

This literary journey chronicles the birth of a generation of modernizing Arabs that fought and lost the case for modernity. The history of the past seventy years is narrated through the life of authors and their works-what they wrote, how the societies around them reacted, and how the political condition merged with their literary expression, only to suppress it and silence it.

As a parallel history, "The Dream Palace of the Arabs" could accompany any book. But in looking at the literary interplay between modernizing authors and their surroundings, Mr. Ajami has not only dug deeper in his probe of what brought about the present Arab political condition, but has analyzed the issue on a whole other level.

The reader who is familiar with Middle Eastern history will not feel burdened by the material. The refreshing tone and approach allows Mr. Ajami to deal with such issues as the Iranian revolution, the Egyptian peace with Israel, the Palestinian battle with Israel, or the Iran-Iraq with refreshing erudition and acumen that always excites and never bores.

"The Dream Palace of the Arabs" cannot serve as an introduction to the Middle East; it is too subtle and perceptive for that; but for anyone who is tired of reading about oil politics, religious fundamentalism and elusive peace deals, and who is actually interested in the underlying intellectual currents upon which the Arab political storm thrives, "The Dream Palace of the Arabs" is a sure bet.
42 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insightful examination of the modern Middle East 9 décembre 2002
Par J. A Magill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Because he lacks the flash and skill at sound bites of some of his more well known colleagues and does not crave to spend time on CNN, Professor Ajami?s work is frequently overlooked. That is a great loss for everyone trying to understand the Arab world, particularly in these times of growing tension and violence.
Ajami asks a profound and much debated question, why did modernity seem to pass the Arab world by? ?Scholars,? such as Edward Said, argue that everything is the fault of the West and imperialism and that nothing intrinsic in Middle Eastern and Islamic culture deserve the blame. In contrast, Ajami takes seriously the fact that prior to the enlightenment, Islamic society was both intellectually and materially superior to West. Indeed, after World War II, with a fair number of Western educated citizens and a burgeoning middle class, many observers say the Middle East having a bright future, likely brighter in fact, than those currently economic and political successes, South Korea, Tiwan, and the other ?asian tigers.? What then, went wrong? Ajami points to Arab society never internalizing the nation state and that democratic values never gained currency beyond a small clique of intellectuals. Instead, such modern political ideas were seen as imperialist impositions, given little more than lip service.
I disagree with Ajami on several points, most notably his rosy predictions for Egypt. Still, the work is well worth a serious read for any student of the Middle East.
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not Really History 5 décembre 2001
Par Big Dave - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I do not mean to imply by the title of this review that Ajami's book is "false" or polemical. Rather, I intend to warn readers that _The Dream Palace of the Arabs_ it is not a work of chronological accounting and crisp historical analysis.
Instead, it is impressionistic and non-linear. Events are narrated as episodes in the life or from the perspective of a certain poet or political figure. This gives the book a dreamy, subjective quality. This, surely, is the point: not to answer a specific historical question, but to tell the tale of "a generation's odyssey", as the book's subtitle has it.
The result is effective and haunting in its sense of disillusionment and frustration, and I recommend the book highly.
The one caveat I offer is that the reader will get much more out of this book if s/he has already read at least some Middle Eastern history, and preferably a fair amount.
32 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Requiem for Pan-Arabism 4 juin 2002
Par Glenn M. Frazier - Publié sur Amazon.com
Dream Palace of the Arabs : A Generation's Odyssey is a fascinating, sad look at a lost generation of Arab intellectuals. The author, Fouad Ajami, explores Pan-Arabism and Arab Nationalism through the lense of Arabic arts and letters.
It starts off, naturally enough, with the 1982 suicide of Lebanese poet Khalil Hawi-an event that comes to symbolize the fate of the pro-modernization political-intellectual movement. It then moves on to an exploration of a generational divide-between Arab secular nationalists and the now dominant Islamists-through the art of Adonis, Sadiq al-Azm, Abdelrahman Munif, and Nizar Qabbani. With that as background, the author then provides a more detailed look at Egypt in the aftershock of Sadat's assassination; the novelist Naguib Mahfuz plays a central role in this chapter. Finally, the Arab reaction to Israel is revealingly illustrated through the writings and statements of a number of men (and one woman) of Arabic letters.
Ajami, a nominally Eastern Orthodox Arab raised in Beirut and now teaching in America, is extremely well-suited for the task. He is himself a member of this generation and writes with exquisite pain and tenderness, and also with brutal honesty, revealing the seemingly missed potential of this lost generation's dreams. At times, particularly in the beginning which describes the fall of Lebanon, this is a difficult book to read; the grand ideas and the author's affection for old Lebanon are downright depressing reading when you know where it's all heading. In the later chapters, particularly the one dealing with the secular vs. Islamist divide and the Gulf War and the one addressing Israel and the various "peace processes", the mood is less tense-although perhaps this is because I personally feel less of a sense of loss over the rest of the Arab world than I do over Lebanon's demise.
I've read quite a few articles and a number of books over the years that each attempted to shed light on the politics and modern history of the Arab world. This one, though, has been uniquely revealing to me as it is in large part the story as told by Arabs, to Arabs. Of course, this is largely the narrative belonging to the secularists born shortly after World War II, and their voices seem to hold very little sway in today's world. Still, to try to understand the culture and environment that produced Al Qaeda without listening to those doomed voices of the latter twentieth century would be like trying to fully understand the America of the late sixties and early seventies without knowing anything of World War II and the early Cold War. That analogy only goes so far, of course, but there is a similarity there in that both worlds produced generations of radical rejectionism; full comprehension demands that serious inquirers first go back to grasp what it was that was rejected. Add to that the power and importance in the Arab world of language and poetry, and it is easy to see that the author's approach is an extremely useful and informative one. For all these reasons, this book holds a place on my Warblogger's Bookshelf.
By now, you should be able to tell that this book is not for everyone. If the examination of Arab poetry and the exploration of foreign intellectual movements make up your idea of torture in a foreign land, stay away. On the other hand, if, like me, you are fascinated by Arab culture and want to better understand the political failures underlying today's Middle East, then this will be an excellent and rewarding read for you.
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