This collection of previously published essays by one of Britain's most original thinkers on the Middle East covers a wide range of topics, from the Iranian revolution to human rights in Islam. One of the best chapters deals with Orientalism and its critics, in which Halliday intelligently tackles both sides of this rather tiresome debate. Throughout, he upholds a belief in the value of approaching the Middle East with the normal standards of social science in mind; he treats it not as some exotic, unchanging terrain, but as a complex region that can be best understood by asking the right questions and looking hard enough for evidence. A breath of fresh air.
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