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Middle East Books and More
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Just In: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith E. Gorsky

"When Faith Gorsky married her Middle Eastern husband, she married more than just the man. She found herself introduced to a fascinating culture and cuisine that would forever change how she experienced food and cooking.

Faith's mother-in-law took her under her wing and in 6 months gave her a thorough course in Middle Eastern cooking that became the basis for her popular website, An Edible Mosaic. The growth and success of her website and her own developing interest led to more trips to the Middle East, deepening her knowledge of the cuisine which she shares in An Edible Mosaic.

In her new cookbook, Faith imparts her favorite Middle Eastern recipes, recipes anyone can make with a little work and some help from Faith! Her love for the cuisine of her husband's homeland shows in her enthusiasm for these dishes and the awareness that food is more than just a means of sustenance for the people of the Middle East—it lies at the epicenter of their gatherings with family and friends.

Delicious Middle Eastern recipes include:
Parsley Salad with Bulgur Wheat (Tabbouleh)
Creamy Chickpea and Yogurt Casserole (Fetteh)
Mashed Fava Beans with Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, and Garlic (Foul Mudammas)
Ground Chicken Kebabs (Kebab Dajaj)
Sumac-Spiced Chicken (M'sakhkhan)
Upside-Down Rice Casserole (Maqluba)
Date-Filled Cookies (Ma'amoul)
And many more…

The only traditional way to prepare authentic Middle Eastern food is to watch cooks in action. Nothing is written down, there are no cooking times, few enumerated steps, and certainly no measurements. WithAn Edible Mosaic the secrets of Arab and Mediterranean cooking become simple and demystified."

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Just In: Pomegranates & Pine Nuts: A Stunning Collection of Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian by Bethany Kehdy

"New Cookbook from Former ‘Miss Lebanon’ Explores Modern Middle Eastern Cooking

The Middle East cradles an ancient cuisine—one of the oldest in the world. Despite its pedigree, conflict in the region has largely kept it under wraps to a wider audience. Hummus, tabbouleh, and stuffed vine leaves now receive global recognition, but there still exists this vast and distinct culinary heritage that remains unexplored: wholesome stews, exotic casseroles and a range of home cooking which revolves around humble, yet delicious vegetables and grains. It is these that routinely welcome home hungry school children and soothe the appetites of tired workers. They too must be shared with the world.

For the past five years, Lebanese-American Bethany Kehdy has sought to demystify Middle Eastern food through her blog DirtyKitchenSecrets.com and her Taste of Lebanon tours. In her debut book, Pomegranates & Pine Nuts, she provides 100+ new recipes that will introduce you to the wonders of the Middle East and change any thought you might have had that this hearty cuisine is complicated or laborious."

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Just In: ‪#‎Lebanon‬ Adrift: From Battleground to Playground by Samir Khalaf

"Lebanon today is at a fateful crossroads in its eventful socio-cultural and political history. Imperiled by unsettling transformations, from postwar reconstruction and rehabilitation to the forces of postmodernity and globalism, it remains adrift.

In this landmark study, Samir Khalaf explores how ordinary citizens, burdened by the consequences of war, persisting regional rivalries, mounting economic deprivation, and diminishing prospects for well-being, find meaning and coherence in a society that has not only lost its moorings and direction, but also its sense of control."

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Just In: Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World by Maha El Said, Lena Meari, and Nicola Pratt

"Ever since the wave of uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2010, Arab women and their role in political transformations have received unprecedented media attention. The copious scrutiny and commentary, however, has yet to result in any serious study of fluctuating gender roles in the Middle East. Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance is the first book to analyze the shifts in gender roles, relations, and norms that have occurred since the ‪#‎ArabSpring‬. With chapters written by scholars and activists from the countries affected, including ‪#‎Palestine‬, ‪#‎Egypt‬, ‪#‎Tunisia‬, ‪#‎Libya‬, and ‪#‎Syria‬, this is an important addition to Middle Eastern gender studies."

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Just In: ‪#‎Afghanistan‬ from the Cold War through the War on Terror by Barnett R. Rubin

"One of our foremost authorities on modern Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin has dedicated much of his career to the study of this remote mountain country. He served as a special advisor to the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke during his final mission to the region and still serves the Obama administration under Holbrooke's successor, Ambassador Marc Grossman.

Now Rubin distills his unmatched knowledge of Afghanistan in this invaluable book. He shows how the Taliban arose in resistance to warlords some of whom who were raping and plundering with impunity in the vacuum of authority left by the collapse of the Afghan state after the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban built on a centuries-old tradition of local leadership by students and teachers at independent, rural madrasas--networks that had been marginalized by the state-building royal regime that was itself destroyed by the Soviets and radicalized by the resistance to the invasion. He examines the arrival of Arab Islamists, the missed opportunities after the American-led intervention, the role of Pakistan, and the challenges of reconstruction. Rubin provides first-hand accounts of the bargaining at both the Bonn Talks of 2001 and the Afghan Constitutional Loya Jirga of 2003-2004, in both of which he participated as a UN advisor. Throughout, he discusses the significance of ethnic rivalries, the drug trade, human rights, state-building, US strategic choices, and international organizations, analyzing the missteps in these areas taken by the international community since 2001. The book covers events till the start of the Obama administration, and the final chapters provide an inside look at some of the thinking that is shaping today's policy debates inside the administration.

Authoritative, nuanced, and sweeping in scope, Afghanistan in the Post-Cold War Era provides deep insight into the greatest foreign policy challenge facing America today."

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Just In: A Shadow over ‪#‎Palestine‬: The Imperial Life of ‪#‎Race‬ in ‪#‎America‬ by Keith P. Feldman

"Upon signing the first U.S. arms agreement with Israel in 1962, John F. Kennedy assured Golda Meir that the United States had “a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East,” comparable only to that of the United States with Britain. After more than five decades such a statement might seem incontrovertible—and yet its meaning has been fiercely contested from the first.

A Shadow over Palestine brings a new, deeply informed, and transnational perspective to the decades and the cultural forces that have shaped sharply differing ideas of Israel’s standing with the United States—right up to the violent divisions of our day. Focusing on the period from 1960 to 1985, author Keith P. Feldman reveals the centrality of Israel and Palestine in postwar U.S. imperial culture. Some representations of the region were used to manufacture “commonsense” racial ideologies underwriting the conviction that liberal democracy must coexist with racialized conditions of segregation, border policing, poverty, and the repression of dissent. Others animated vital critiques of these conditions, often forging robust if historically obscured border-crossing alternatives.

In this rich cultural history of the period, Feldman deftly analyzes how artists, intellectuals, and organizations—from the United Nations, the Black Panther Party, and the Association of Arab American University Graduates to James Baldwin, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Edward Said, and June Jordan—linked the unfulfilled promise of liberal democracy in the United States with the perpetuation of settler democracy in Israel and the possibility of Palestine’s decolonization.

In one of his last essays, published in 2003, Edward Said wrote, “In America, Palestine and Israel are regarded as local, not foreign policy, matters.” A Shadow over Palestine maps the jagged terrain on which this came to be, amid a wealth of robust alternatives, and the undeterred violence at home and abroad that has been unleashed as a result of this special relationship."

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Just In: Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq via Just World Books

"Baddawi is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the thousands of Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila Abdelrazaq explores her father's childhood in the 1960s and '70s from a boy's eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty. Ahmad grows up in a crowded yet vibrant community amidst mounting unrest and violence in his host country, experiencing joys such as holidays and adventures with his friends, and facing heavy burdens, from a schoolyard bully to separation from his family during the Lebanese civil war. Ahmad's dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their present circumstances while remaining steadfast in their determination to one day return to their homeland."
‪#‎Palestine‬

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Just In: ‪#‎Baghdad‬ Central by Elliott Colla

"Baghdad Central is a noir debut novel set in Baghdad in September 2003. The US occupation of ‪#‎Iraq‬ is a swamp of incompetence and self-delusion. The CPA has disbanded the Iraqi army and police as a consequence of its paranoid policy of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. Tales of hubris and reality-denial abound, culminating in Washington hailing the mess a glorious "mission accomplished."
Inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji is a mid-level Iraqi cop who deserted his post back in April. Khafaji has lived long enough in pre- and post-Saddam Iraq to know that clinging on to anything but poetry and his daughter, Mrouj, is asking for trouble. Nabbed by the Americans and imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, Khafaji is offered one way out—work for the CPA to rebuild the Iraqi Police Services. But it's only after United States forces take Mrouj that he figures out a way to make his collaboration palatable, and even rewarding. Soon, he is investigating the disappearance of young women translators working for the US Army. The bloody trail leads Khafaji through battles, bars, and brothels then finally back to the Green Zone, where it all began.
This is a first novel by Elliott Colla , an American writer totally immersed in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a professor of Arabic literature at Georgetown University, and a well-known translator from the Arabic of local fiction and poetry. He divides his time between Washington, DC, and the Middle East."

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Just In: ‪#‎Lebanon‬: A History, 600 - 2011 by William Harris

"In this impressive synthesis, William Harris narrates the history of the sectarian communities of Mount Lebanon and its vicinity. He offers a fresh perspective on the antecedents of modern multi-communal Lebanon, tracing the consolidation of Lebanon's Christian, Muslim, and Islamic derived sects from their origins between the sixth and eleventh centuries.

The identities of Maronite Christians, Twelver Shia Muslims, and Druze, the mountain communities, developed alongside assertions of local chiefs under external powers from the Umayyads to the Ottomans. The chiefs began interacting in a common arena when Druze lord Fakhr al-Din Ma'n achieved domination of the mountain within the Ottoman imperial framework in the early seventeenth century. Harris knits together the subsequent interplay of the elite under the Sunni Muslim Shihab relatives of the Ma'ns after 1697 with demographic instability as Maronites overtook Shia as the largest community and expanded into Druze districts. By the 1840s many Maronites conceived the common arena as their patrimony. Maronite/Druze conflict ensued.

Modern Lebanon arose out of European and Ottoman intervention in the 1860s to secure sectarian peace in a special province. In 1920, after the Ottoman collapse, France and the Maronites enlarged the province into the modern country, with a pluralism of communal minorities headed by Maronite Christians and Sunni Muslims. The book considers the flowering of this pluralism in the mid-twentieth century, and the strains of new demographic shifts and of social resentment in an open economy. External intrusions after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war rendered Lebanon's contradictions unmanageable and the country fell apart.

Harris contends that Lebanon has not found a new equilibrium and has not transcended its sects. In the early twenty-first century there is an uneasy duality: Shia have largely recovered the weight they possessed in the sixteenth century, but Christians, Sunnis, and Druze are two-thirds of the country. This book offers readers a clear understanding of how modern Lebanon acquired its precarious social intricacy and its singular political character."

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Just In: ‪#‎Cairo‬ Cosmopolitan: Politics, Culture, and Urban Space in the New Middle East by Diane Singerman

"Bringing together a distinguished interdisciplinary group of scholars, this volume explores what happens when new forms of privatization meet collectivist pasts, public space is sold off to satisfy investor needs and tourist gazes, and the state plans for ‪#‎Egypt‬'s future in desert cities while stigmatizing and neglecting Cairo's popular neighborhoods. These dynamics produce surprising contradictions and juxtapositions that are coming to define today's Middle East.
The original publication of this volume launched the Cairo School of Urban Studies, committed to fusing political-economy and ethnographic methods and sensitive to ambivalence and contingency, to reveal the new contours and patterns of modern power emerging in the urban frame.

Contributors: Mona Abaza, Nezar AlSayyad, Paul Amar, Walter Armbrust, Vincent Battesti, Fanny Colonna, Eric Denis, Dalila ElKerdany, Yasser Elsheshtawy, Farha Ghannam, Galila El Kadi, Anouk de Koning, Petra Kuppinger, Anna Madoeuf, Catherine Miller, Nicolas Puig, Said Sadek, Omnia El Shakry, Diane Singerman, Elizabeth A. Smith, Leïla Vignal, Caroline Williams."
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