Books

New Book Examines Middle East ‘Post Americana’: Twilight of U.S. Cultural Influence

By 
D.W. Aossey


After the American Century: The Ends of U. S. Culture in the Middle East
By Brian T. Edwards
Columbia University Press, 2015

It’s been said that a single aspiration connects all Middle Eastern people; to eat at McDonalds and shop at Wal-Mart, just like everyone else. Exaggeration? Maybe. But the comparison captures an obvious truth: that American attitudes and ideals have been disproportionately popular in the region for decades. “After the American Century” by author Brian T. Edwards, on the other hand, offers the counterargument that technology has and will continue to change this paradigm.

Prescient Book Calls Attention to Consequences of Sunni Diaspora

By 
Lynne Rogers


Eclipse of the Sunnis, Power, Exile and Upheaval in the Middle East
By Deborah Amos
Public Affairs, 2010

Only four years after its publication and a drastically changed landscape, reading Deborah Amos’ “Eclipse of the Sunnis, Power, Exile and Upheaval in the Middle East,” will give readers a chilling sense of futility towards the impending signs of violence that politicians either conveniently overlooked or malevolently exaggerated to their advantage. With the American Occupation of Iraq, Amos, an award winning journalist, has set off to record the “the mass departure” of Iraqis to Damascus, Amman and Beirut. For each destination, she juxtaposes the political machinations behind the public rhetoric with a compilation of personal stories whose tragedies directly result from these power shifts.

Book Offers Oral Histories of Five Diverse Egyptian Men

By 
Caroline Seymour-Jorn


Shahaama: Five Egyptian Men Tell Their Stories
By Nayra Atiya
Syracuse University Press, New York, 2016

Nayra Atiya has compiled a fascinating selection of the life stories of five Egyptian men belonging to a variety of sub-cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. She conducted the interviews during the period from the late 1970s to the early 1980s with men who appear to have been born between the 1940s and the 1950s. Each life history provides details about the men’s childhoods, educations and adult lives during the period from the early decades of the Republic through the early Mubarak period, with these oral histories reflecting a great deal about the many socio-economic and political changes that accompanied those decades.

‘Egyptian-American’: The Hyphenated Experience

By 
Priscilla Wathington
 
Looking Both Ways
By Pauline Kaldas
Cune Press, 2017
 
Something about Pauline Kaldas’ new memoir makes you feel both adrift and at home – sensations normally at war with each other. Yet, somehow, in her rounded phrases and softly imparted narratives, the elements of surprise and familiarity find balance in each other.
 
Composed of a string of personal essays, her history unfolds over many moments, rather than the narration of a single breath.

‘Traveling Scholar’ Ella Shohat: The Contradictions and Challenges of Being an Arab Jew

As a public intellectual, Ella Shohat has found that her personal history profoundly informs her scholarship. Born in Israel to Iraqi parents who had migrated to that country after 1948, Shohat grew up in an Israeli culture that discriminated against Mizrahi Jews. Living a life of contradictions and tension as an “Arab-Jew” – a person of the Jewish religion whose culture and primary language are Arabic, she has found herself on countless occasions having to explain an identity that seemed like an oxymoron, an impossibility, to academics and others.

Chronicling Syrians’ Personal Stories of Struggle to Reach Safe Refuge

By 
Sarah Rogers

On Friday January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that, for a 90-day period, suspended immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States from Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. It also, for a period of 120 days, suspended the Refugee Resettlement Program, placing an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. “Leaving Syria: Seeking Refuge in Greece” makes clear the plight of Syrian refugees traces back to a much longer and tragic history.


Leaving Syria: Seeking Refuge in Greece
By Bill Dienst, MD and Madi Williamson
Cune Press, 2017

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