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"Humanistic readers, possessing greater scope for serious thought about perspectives on world affairs, can benefit from probing Hentsch's ideas." - Humanist In Canada "The contours of Hentsch's darkly eloquent critique bring us toward a philosophy of cultural and identity politics...For those who want to understand the world of plural identities and the tactics of "appropriation,' this is a very rich and necessary book." - Montreal Gazette "Argues that the West has always used the Middle East to represent the darker parts of itself and that war is an attempt to contain the imagined threat of the dangerously exotic...the book makes some telling points." -The Sunday Times, UK "Hentsch indeed has contributed a thought-provoking and exhaustively researched work. The Canada Council Governor General's Award for Fred Reed's English translation is well-deserved... a thorough and valuable account." - Arab Studies Quarterly "At once complex, historical, philosophical and lyrical." -From My Bookshelf "This remarkable book...could be seen as advancing our understanding beyond professor Edward Said's Orientalism..and should be essential reading for all those who formulate policies in th West." - Crescent "In the Conclusion, Hentsch comments on "Operation Desert Storm" and the failure of the West to transcend its image of the Middle East...a stimulating work." --Journal of Palestine Studies "In lush, long paragraphs, Hentsch shows how in era after era the freest-thinking Western men (invariably) are imprisoned by ethnicity, class and nationality, and by the need to make a human heirarchy with their modern Western selves at the top." -Canadian Forum "In the best of worlds, no certification of "expertise" on the Middle East would be granted to anyone who had failed to read and understand what Hentsch has to say. It should be required reading for all of us." --Middle East Studies Association Bulletin "An important meditation on the Western encounter with the nearer Orient over two millennia and more...amply rewarding." --Middle East Policy CouncilReseña del editor:
Winner of the 1992 Governor General's Literary Award for Translation.
The Mediterranean East has long been our closest and most contrasted alternative - the consummate other. It is contiguous both in geography and imagination. Alternatively mysterious, menacing, enticing or repulsive; at once deserted and swarming, barbaric and refined; sometimes violent; sometimes indolent; a place of enchantment, escape, or exasperation – but always present and always other.
Thierry Hentsch examines how the Western perception of the Middle East was formed and how we have used these perceptions as a rationalization for setting policies and determining actions. He sees our ideas of the other and our ethnocentrism not simply as innocent myopia but as our whole way of viewing the world. He believes that the Middle East serves as a mirror to the Western consciousness, as a point of reference – changing from, contradictory, varying to the dictates of circumstance. The book concludes with the consequence of this imagination on the first Gulf war and its aftermath.
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