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Book Title: Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics|
The author of the book: Hanna Batatu
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Edition: Princeton University Press
Date of issue: September 17th 2012
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 344 KB
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In this book, the distinguished scholar Hanna Batatu presents a comprehensive analysis of the recent social, economic, and political evolution of Syria's peasantry, the segment of society from which the current holders of political power stem. Batatu focuses mainly on the twentieth century and, in particular, on the Ba`th movement, the structures of power after the military coup d'état of 1963, and the era of îvfiz al-Asad, Syria's first ruler of peasant extraction. Without seeking to prove any single theory about Syrian life, he offers a uniquely rich and detailed account of how power was transferred from one demographic group to another and how that power is maintained today.
Batatu begins by examining social differences among Syria's peasants and the evolution of their mode of life and economic circumstances. He then scrutinizes the peasants' forms of consciousness, organization, and behavior in Ottoman and Mandate times and prior to the Ba`thists' rise to power. He explores the rural aspects of Ba`thism and shows that it was not a single force but a plurality of interrelated groups--prominent among them the descendants of the lesser rural notables--with different social goals and mental horizons. The book also provides a perceptive account of President Asad, his personality and conduct, and the characteristics and power structures of his regime. Batatu draws throughout on a wide range of socioeconomic and biographical information and on personal interviews with Syrian peasants and political leaders, offering invaluable insights into the complexities of a country and a regime that have long been poorly understood by outsiders.
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Read information about the authorwas a Palestinian American Marxist historian specializing in the history of Iraq and the modern Arab east. His work on Iraq is widely considered the pre-eminent study of modern Iraqi history.
Born in Jerusalem in 1926, Hanna Batatu emigrated to the United States in 1948, the year of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. From 1951 to 1953, he studied at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He gained his doctorate at political science in Harvard University in 1960, with a dissertation entitled The Shaykh and the Peasant in Iraq, 1917-1958. From 1962 to 1982 he taught at the American University of Beirut, then from 1982 until his retirement in 1994 at Georgetown University in the United States