Robert's Reviews > Hezbollah: A Short History

Hezbollah by Augustus Richard Norton
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's review
Oct 05, 2010

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bookshelves: history-world
Read from September 15 to October 05, 2010

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 Lebanon. In fact, the book can be viewed as a succinct history of Lebanon during this period. The author gives a lucid exposition of that country's multi-confessional society and government - illuminates the chaotic events of those years - the "Cedar Revolution", Syria's involvement in assassinations, the rivalry between Amal and Hezbollah - clarifies these incidents, makes them understandable. His analysis is a powerful corrective to the usually Israeli-sympathetic, one-sided view of Lebanon and its people. Norton is refreshingly objective; his analysis of Hezbollah, non-judgmental. Rather than the stereotypical characterization of it as a "terrorist group sponsored by Iran", he provides a realistic assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, detailing those aspects that make it so attractive to many people in the mideast, as well as the qualities that inspire fear and loathing in others. Norton provides the information necessary to understand Hezbollah, information necessary to respond to it effectively.
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