"This is a monumental book, which tells a subtle and many layered story...it becomes apparent that the story is highly pertinent to the whole region, its societies and cultures..."--"Times Literary Supplement""For too long Islamic studies have existed in an academic ghetto...A more fruitful approach is taken by Michael Gilsenan in...this beautifully written book..."--"London Review of Books"."..an exceptionally lively account..."--"The Middle East"
This book is a study of how feudalism works in a contemporary Arab society, examining the operations of the hierarchy of Lebanese warlords. The book shows how the warlords have adapted to changing economic conditions in Lebanon. Whereas power was formerly based on landed estates, it now lies in services and capital. The book examines the nature of the competition between these men, how elections are influenced by patronage and violence.