Today Lebanon is one of the world's most divided countries - if it remains a country at all. But paradoxically the faction-ridden Lebanese, both Christians and Muslims, have never shown a keener consciousness of common identity. How can this be? In this outstanding book a famous Lebanese historian examines in the light of modern scholarship the historical myths on which his country's warring communities have based their conflicting visions of the Lebanese nation. The Lebanese have always lacked a common vision of their past. From the beginning Muslims and Christians have disagreed fundamentally over their country's historical legitimacy: Christians on the whole have affirmed it, Muslims have tended to emphasise Lebanon's plave in a broader Arab history. Both groups have used nationalist ideas in a destructive game which at a deeper level involves archaic loyalties and tribal rivalries. But Lebanon cannot afford these conflicting visions if it is to develop and maintain a sense of political community. In the course of his extremely lively exposition, Salibi offers a major reinterpretation of Lebanese history, and provides remarkable insights into the synamic of Lebanon's recent conflict. He also gives a masterly account of how the imagines communities which underlie modern antionalism are created. This is not only an illuminating woek on one of the most intractable problems of the Middle East, but a brilliantly conceived and elegantluy written cast study of the phenomenon of nationalism. It will appeal as much to political scientists as to those seeking to understans the conflict in Lebanon today.
House of Many Mansions, A
History of Lebanon Reconsidered