This volume analyzes liberal thought in the Eastern Mediterranean since the late nineteenth century, highlighting its long-term and ongoing influence, and challenging the conventional wisdom that liberalism has no legitimate place in the region's intellectual discourse. By investigating the activities of diverse institutions, media, and personalities, the authors in this volume examine the liberal ideas and values that emerged during eras of both peace and political turmoil, while recognizing the factors contributing to their decline. Seen from these many perspectives, liberal thought developed not merely from "Westernization," but from the interaction between indigenous intellectual critique and political ideology, political experiences and literary imagination, and a mixture of admiration for and resistance to European ideas and political domination.
Excellent essays on "liberalist" shenanigans in the Levant mostly during the first three decades of the 20th century. Strong sections are the Sluglett and Provence pieces on the French Mandates, Rafeq's essay about the Syrian University, Khuri-Makdisi's essay on radical socialist groups in Beirut just prior to World War I, and the essays on the pre- and post-war Ottoman political hijinks. The entire third section is less interesting and/or useful ("ventriloquized memoirs"?).