Born in 1944 and raised in Sidon, Lebanon, to a Sunni family of modest means, Rafik Hariri exemplified an oft-told Lebanese story: the villager who goes abroad to make a fortune. For Hariri, it was not in South America or West Africa but in nearby Saudi Arabia that he made millions as a contractor and an entrepreneur. He returned to Lebanon with great wealth and Saudi aegis to play a major role in Lebanon's economic development and then, increasingly, its politics from the late 1980s until his assassination in February 2005. Serving as prime minister for a total of ten years in two separate stints (1992-98 and 2000-2004), Hariri seemed poised to play yet again a leadership role that just might have guided the Lebanese state and society toward accommodation at home and some measure of independence vis-à-vis its many outside intruders -- Syria, Israel, the United States, France, and others. Blanford, who has been covering Lebanon and the Middle East as a foreign correspondent for a dozen years, offers an intimate account of Lebanon distilled from interviews with over 70 people, friends and foes, Lebanese and foreign, who knew "Mr. Lebanon."