• Title: Beirut
    • Author(s) / Editor(s): Samir Kassir (Author), Malcolm DeBevoise (Translator), Robert Fisk (Foreword)
    • Publisher: University of California Press
    • Year: 2010
    • ISBN-10: 0520256689
    • ISBN-13: 978-0520256682
    • Language: English
    • Pages: 656
    • Size / Format: 13,3 mb / pdf
    • Link:
    • Password: falastinpress

Description: Widely praised as the definitive history of Beirut, this is the story of a city that has stood at the crossroads of Mediterranean civilization for more than four thousand years. The last major work completed by Samir Kassir before his tragic death in 2005, Beirut is a tour de force that takes the reader from the ancient to the modern world, offering a dazzling panorama of the city’s Seleucid, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French incarnations. Kassir vividly describes Beirut’s spectacular growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, concentrating on its emergence after the Second World War as a cosmopolitan capital until its near destruction during the devastating Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. Generously illustrated and eloquently written, Beirut illuminates contemporary issues of modernity and democracy while at the same time memorably recreating the atmosphere of one of the world’s most picturesque, dynamic, and resilient cities.

Physically confined between Mount Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea, Beirut possesses an urban character that has been molded by empires and immigrants. Written by an able intellectual whom assassins murdered in 2005, this thorough history reflects Kassir’s intimate familiarity with modern Beirut’s streets and neighborhoods. His accounts of boulevards and buildings embody the purposes of those who constructed them, from Romans whose ruins dot the city to Ottomans whose vestiges are more intact to the French whose cultural influence remains strong even now. Attributes of Beirut that have attracted outside interest—as a transition point between Europe and the Near East, as a cultural border between Christian and Islamic spheres—fostered the unique status Beirut attained by the mid-twentieth century, that of the Arab world’s center of publishing, higher education, and literary and performing arts, not to mention its raffish attraction as a tourist destination. But the snake in the garden, religious communalism, stirred the civil war of 1975–90, which ruined the city. Generously illustrated, Kassir’s legacy is an evocative portrait of a great but tragic metropolis. –Gilbert Taylor.


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