Hezbollah: A Short History

By Augustus Richard Norton | Go to book overview

Additional Reading

Lebanon is a complex country that observers all too quickly try to reduce to Christian-Muslim or sectarian labels, as though Lebanese fit into neat cultural boxes. Indeed, even officials who should know better are sometimes seduced by this sort of confessional typecasting, as though people's behavior is predetermined by a cultural nugget that is magically transmitted from one generation to the next. This is lazy thinking. If confession did determine behavior, the idea of a Lebanese nationality would be an illusion, civil war would be the norm, not the aberration, and Lebanon would be divided into a messy collection of emirates and enclaves. Instead, even in the early twenty-first century—when sectarian identities are peculiarly salient—we must take account of regional, class, or ideological differences, not to mention political jealousies and simple opportunism, to think sensibly about Lebanon and its politics.

For those who are provoked or curious to learn more about Lebanon and its complex history, there is probably no better starting place than Kamal Salibi's rich and elegantly written introduction to Lebanon, A House of Many Mansions. There are several important accounts of the incremental collapse of Lebanon into civil war in 1975, and the many internal and external dimensions of violence since then, but Elizabeth Picard's incisive A Shattered Country is especially sophisticated yet accessible.

In recent decades, and for that matter over the past two centuries, Lebanon has been deeply affected by external

-175-

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Hezbollah: A Short History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Hezbollah iii
  • Contents v
  • Prologue 1
  • Chapter 1 - Origins and Prehistory of Hezbollah 9
  • Chapter 2 - The Founding of Hezbollah 27
  • Chapter 3 - Being a Shi`i Muslim in the Twenty-First Century 47
  • Chapter 4 - Resistance, Terrorism, and Violence in Lebanon 69
  • Chapter 5 - Playing Politics 95
  • Chapter 6 - From Celebration to War 113
  • Conclusion 145
  • Afterword to the Paperback Edition 161
  • Glossary 173
  • Additional Reading 175
  • Sources Cited 181
  • Index 185
  • Acknowledgments 197
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