Resources in Preparation

Resources we have accessed to learn about Beirut, Lebanon, Islam and The Middle East

Dated: June 8, 2010

The Lebanese Flag

Many current and future colleagues have provided us with recommendations for books, videos and travel guides to check out prior to departure for Lebanon.  We are learning a great deal about the history, culture, cuisine, climate and geography of Beirut and Lebanon from these resources.  Of course, “a great deal” is a relative term.  We have so much more to learn.  Regardless, the books listed here have been valuable resources.

This list will be updated as my reading continues.

Beirut to Lebanon by Thomas Friedman

The first book I went to.  The section on Beirut provides a first hand report from Beirut in the midst of the civil war.

Resurrecting Empire by Rashid Khalidi

The story of the US wars in Iraq.

Beirut Blues by Hanan al-Shaykh

A novel set in Beirut during the civil war. Each chapter is a letter from a young woman living in Beirut during the civil war.

Lebanon by Lonely Planet Travel Guides

Your generic travel guide.  Good, brief history, sites, food, places to see and go.

Istanbul The Rough Guide

Another useful travel guide.

The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood by Rashid Khalidi

A balanced assessment of the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

The Saint and the Sultan by Paul Moses

The story of St. Francis of Assissi’s meeting with Sultan Malik  al-Kamil in an attempt to negotiate peace during the Fifth Crusade.  A fascinating, untold story.

The Crusades Through the Eyes of Arabs by Amin Maalouf

Not what we were taught in Catholic school.  An eye opener.  I learned a lot.

A House of Many Mansions by Kamal Salibi

The history of Lebanon from different perspectives.


Beirut: The Last Home Movie – This movie chronicles the story of a family living in Beirut during the Civil War.

Islam – A Public Broadcasting Service  3 part video on the history of Islam.


Sharon and I have had three lessons in basic Arabic language and culture from Simo Ouazzani, a Moroccan born citizen working in the U.S.A.

Shakrun, Simo.

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One Response to Resources in Preparation

  1. Linda Beck says:

    What an exciting adventure! Several of these books and authors are very familiar to me from my Islam and Politics course. If you need some background books on Islam, I would definitely suggest starting with Esposito’s “The Straight Path.”

    Studying Arabic — that is fantastic! I tooking for two years in grad school and still can say little more than hello and count. But that was because I didn’t live in the Arab world. You two will come back fluent no doubt!

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