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Hezbollah: A Short History
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Hezbollah: A Short History

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Most policymakers in the United States and Israel have it wrong: Hezbollah isn't a simple terrorist organization--nor is it likely to disappear any time soon. Following Israel's war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, the Shi'i group--a hybrid of militia, political party, and social services and public works provider--remains very popular in the Middle East. After Leb ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published February 8th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published March 5th 2007)
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Leo Africanus
A well informed 'behind the scenes' analysis of an oft misunderstood organisation.
Richard Norton has chronicled the origins and development of the Lebanese resistance party Hezbollah, which rose to prominence as one of the major political players during Israel's occupation of Lebanon during the 1980's. This account benefits from Norton's background in anthropology which enables him to analyze the cultural and ethnic complexity of Lebanon in his discussion. However, his historical background on the political history of Lebanon is somewhat meandering and also slim.

At the same
A concise history of Hezbollah from its emergence in Lebanon in the mid '80's through the aftermath of its 2006 conflict with Israel. This book is valuable for the detailed information it provides on the organization - for the many character studies of Hezbollah's leaders, past and present - for the detailed analysis of its political evolution, its changing philosophy and goals - and especially for its description of the major impact this organization has had on the social and political life of ...more
Frank Kelly
Norton's slim history of Hezbollah is quite fascinating. And confusing - not his fault but really due to the enormous complexity of the Shia families, parties, gangs, offshoots, etc. in Lebanon. Stunning, really, how complex the situation is there just amongst them.

But several interesting take-away's: First, that the al-Sadr clan have had an outsized impact on Lebanon. Many of us know al-Sadr from the Iraqi firebrand clerical leader Muqtada al-Sadr in Najaf, Iraq - essentially the murderous lea
Matt Payne
This book definitely gave me a better understanding of Lebanese politics and the role that Hezbollah is trying to play locally and globally.

I didn't get much of an understanding of the personalities involved. And a lot of the details were pretty vague.

I recommend it for anybody who wants to learn more about Hezbollah, but I only recommend it because I don't know of any better sources. It left me wishing for an even better understanding. That being said, it would be incredibly difficult to write
Bradley Farless
This is a pretty good overview of the Hezbollah and the major turning points in the group's evolution. The afterword, which adds a bit to the narrative, is current up to August 2008.
People say it's sort of polemical, which is true, but I think it makes a good point about the way the US dismisses Hizb Allah as a monolithic organization for terrorism.
University of Chicago Magazine
Augustus Richard Norton, PhD'84

From the author: "Drawing on extensive fieldwork and more that three decades of work on the Shi'i community of Lebanon, this volume offers an authoritative introduction to the history, culture, politics, strategy and dilemmas of Hezbollah, the Iran-supported party and military force which plays a dominant role in Lebanon while also confronting Israel and striving to thwart U.S. and western influence in large swaths of the Middle East. This edition, published
In the highly readable book, Hezbollah, Richard Norton recounts the history of the Lebanese Shi’a organization Hezbollah.

According to Norton, the figure that initially catalyzed Lebanon’s downtrodden Shi’a was Imam Musa al-Sadr, the Iranian born cleric of Lebanese ancestry who came to Lebanon in the late 1950s. He urged his followers not to accept as fate their poverty and disenfranchisement.

Hezbollah was launched in 1982—after Israel had invaded to thwart armed Palestinian groups from infiltrat
I agree that this boom could've been better organized - it was mostly definitely confusing at times going from war to eat to celebration to celebration to city to city and to names of different leaders; that being said, Lebanon itself does have a very confusing, complex, and tumultuous history that can be quite hard to understand generally.

Overall, this book was readable but I would have liked to have a more in-depth analysis of Hezbollah's exact political viewpoints and things of that nature.
Martyn Rush
Not especially detailed, but does reveal some insights into Hezbollah's support base and social organisation. Skims over vital details like the 2006 war or the involvement in Syria. But quite a balanced overview from a western liberal scholar, as such it is mainly at the ideal level rather than the material level of class struggle, which is surely the real story of Hezbollah and Shi'a activism.
This short history could have been way better organized, but it's a good read anyways, and serves as an important tonic to reactionary western media representations of Hezbollah. Norton offers a complex portrait of a radical organization created amidst a brutal civil war, and it's interesting to read about Hezbollah's various manifestations since - including, most recently, as a very popular political party in Lebanon. The various organizational soul-searchings that Hezbollah has had to undertak ...more
I must admit l struggled a bit with the vocabulary in the beginning since l'm not used to reading this type of books but l'm glad l didn't give it up.
It's well written, and very undrstandable once you get to know the main political terms, but it seems to me that it's more of a book on general Lebanese politics than Hezbollah itself.
Nonetheless pretty useful although l got acquainted with those political relations already while reading Fisk's Pity the Nation, but maybe it's just that l prefer boo
Joshua Steinberg
Jan 06, 2015 Joshua Steinberg marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
e-book with Ebooks
Jim Good
A short history of the Shi muslim movement in Lebenon and the formation of Hezbollah. Gives insight into Shia and Sunni faiths and foundings and their perspective strongholds. The book deals with Hezbollah’s challenge to established arab powers and insight into the struggle with Isreal. Casts Isreal in a poor light though in no way calls Hezbollah an innocent victim, either.
Christina Lenon
Great history of how this Islamic political organization began in Lebanon... does a really good job of differentiating Hezbollah from Amal and Hamas (which can be a little tricky for us westerners)... I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in Middle Eastern politics and especially how Islam ties into the afore mentioned topic.
Cameron Roberson
It's a nice overview of the origins of Lebanon's Islamist organization. While it doesn't get into how they're funded by the Iranians & Iranian influence much, it at least gives the reader a picture of the region & how some of these jihadist groups gain control.
Aug 18, 2011 Tim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone beginning their study of Hezbollah
I read this about two years ago. I knew very little about Hezbollah and wanted to learn more. This book was ideal to begin with. The book assumes that the reader has very little knowledge of the organization and discusses the history of Hezbollah in enough detail to get you started, but not so much detail to overwhelm you.
ok, reads like a history book (no surprise), however, Augustus' personal anecdotes and pictures were pretty nifty. most importantly, he's fairly balanced in his presentation of hezbollah. i enjoyed reading it with the face of nasrallah staring at me from a poster on my wall. 'good terrorists, bad terrorists,' perhaps?
Bill Kyzner
A pretty interesting desciption of the events leading to a an environment in which Hezbollah could flourish. It addresses the rival political factions from which Hezbollah was born and its transformation into a political party.
Good primer on a serious group of "bad hombres" They are one of the core groups in the global terror network. We as a country need to learn more about these organizations.
L. B.
This is a great book for not only learning about the founding and operations of Hezbollah, but also about Shi'a Islam in general.
Good starting point. See review at
good introductory look at Hezbollah, although there are other good works that should be read as well.
I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about understanding the middle east. A great study
An interesting account of the history of Hezbollah.
not much more than you get on cnn at the end of the day
Ps dln
Well-argued, serious, informed and fair-minded.
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Hezbollah A short stort. 1 11 Dec 09, 2008 02:41PM  
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