Thanks to a review in today’s New York Times, The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday, Neil MacFarquhar’s new book of reportage on the Middle East, is up to #328 on Amazon.com. Libraries we checked had fewer than eight copies, with up to 38 holds.
The book”s title gives a hint of its unexpected point of view: MacFarquhar is an American who speaks Arabic, grew up in a Libyan oil town, worked for more than 13 years as a correspondent in the Middle East and is now The New York Times’ United Nations bureau chief. The Times review praises his grasp of history, and declares,
MacFarquhar writes most passionately about the activists and intellectuals struggling to liberalize their societies and Islam as a whole. These reformers — many of whom espouse an Islamic vision of democracy and human rights — are caught between religious zealots and repressive regimes that are often backed by the United States.”
The Washington Post also weighed in on the book back in May, calling it “an intelligent and fascinating romp full of anecdotes, acid asides and conversations with everyone from dissidents to diplomats and liberal religious sheikhs, and even a Kuwaiti woman with a sex-advice column.”