Back to Main Entry

Reviews of The Levant: A Fractured Mosaic

“Packed with solid information about the complex reality of the Levant (East Mediterranean littoral) in its historical, geographical, and political aspects during the past two millennia. The historical patterns and parallels, however, are superseded by a frightening summary of the region’s future (and perhaps unsolvable) prospects: overpopulation, declining water resources, global warming, and its regional consequences, inefficient and corrupt governments. These prospects are compounded by local and regional, political and religious rivalries among the mosaic of peoples and ubiquitous sects that permeate the area and maintain the divisiveness. The nationalist ideologies of Israelis and Palestinians are the headline grabbers, but this conflict only temporarily masks the rivalries and problems described above, including ancestral border disputes with surrounding states, primarily Turkey. Harris also notes the role of Western powers and analyzes their political and economic inroads into the area. In short, the book summarizes libraries of research to provide an up-to-date guide to present and future problems in this flash-point of Western civilization. The survey is remarkably balanced in its depiction of ideologies and rivalries and is replete with useful maps and bibliography … Highly recommended.”
— Choice

“The Levant, which comprises Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Turkey, has played a pivotal role in world history from the time of the Romans to the present. The region’s kaleidoscope of religions and ethnicities has influenced not only its past but also its contemporary significance in the Middle East. A political studies professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand, who has lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East and has published on the Levant and the Persian Gulf, Harris provides a detailed survey of historical and geostrategic developments in the Levant and places contemporary events in a proper historical framework . Harris goes beyond historical developments to examine the unique circumstances that have led to sociopolitical fault lines in the contemporary nation-states of the Levant. The author also analyzes the region’s future prospects in light of pressure from the rising populations and resource shortages. This well-researched and engaging book will be valuable to scholars and informed readers alike. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.”
— Library Journal