The three scholars of the Levant who wrote this book focus on an undeniably important element of Hezbollah’s strategy: spin. But Hezbollah is a powerful military force, political party, business conglomerate, and provider of social services, and the book does not adequately weigh the relative importance of propaganda in maintaining the group’s influence. And although the authors provide a useful review of Hezbollah’s messaging and image-making—analyzing its speeches, videos, and poetry—they provide little information about the impact that such propaganda has had on different audiences. They also focus almost exclusively on the words of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, excluding other sources of the group’s public communications. Finally, the book’s conclusion too briefly explores how Hezbollah has placed itself in a precarious position by supporting the Assad regime in Syria, jeopardizing its image as an independent Lebanese party and as a paragon of pan-Islamic and pan-Arab ideals.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.