dream palace

The Dream Palace of the Arabs

The Dream Palace of the Arabs is a book written by Middle Eastern scholar Fouad Ajami.


Ajami first describes the history of Lebanon from 1920-1982 through the story of poet Khalil Hawi, who committed suicide following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982.

The second chapter follows the careers of the Syrian poets Nizar al-Qabbani and Adonis, focusing on the socio-political developments in Syria that mirror the lives of Qabbani and Adonis.

Chapter three follows the rise of Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the war with Iran during the 1980s, and the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Chapter four, "In the land of Egypt", focuses on socio-political life in Egypt post Sadat. In particular, Ajami follows the at-risk secularists in Egyptian society, such as Naguib Mahfuhz, who was almost killed in 1994 by an Islamist assassin.

The last chapter, "An Orphaned Peace", focuses on, of course, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In particular, Ajami focuses on the response within the Arab cultural community writ large, in particular, their united opposition to the peace process.

Published by Vintage Books 1999. ISBN 978-0375704741.

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