In This Review

Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon
Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon
By Augustus Richard Norton
University of Texas Press, 1987, 238 pp

There is no understanding the events of the past decade in and around Lebanon without probing into the complexity of that country's sectarian policies and particularly the role of the Shia community, which has progressed from virtual powerlessness to central importance in a relatively brief span of time. The story of the largest and strongest Shia movement, Amal, and of its struggles with rival sects and with the PLO, competition with both traditional and radical Shia factions, and relations with Israel and Syria, is told here better than anywhere else. Colonel Norton, who teaches at West Point, served with the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon and knows the area and its people well.