The Ghosts of Martyrs Square by Michael Young
An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon's Life Struggle

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Synopsis

NOT SINCE THOMAS FRIEDMAN’SFROM BEIRUT TO JERUSALEM IN 1989 HAS A JOURNALIST OFFERED SUCH A POIGNANT AND PASSIONATE PORTRAIT OF LEBANON—A UNIQUELY PLURALIST ARAB COUNTRY STRUGGLING TO DEFEND ITS VIABILITY IN A TURBULENT AND TREACHEROUS MIDDLE EAST.

Michael Young, who was taken to Lebanon at age seven by his Lebanese mother after the death of his American father and who has worked most of his career as a journalist there for American publications, brings to life a country in the crossfire of invasions, war, domestic division, incessant sectarian scheming, and often living in fear of its neighbors. Young knows or has known many of the players, politicians, writers, and religious leaders.

A country riven by domestic tensions that have often resulted in assassinations, under the considerable sway of Hezbollah (in alliance with Iran and Syria), frequently set upon by Israel and Syria, nearly destroyed by civil war, Lebanon remains an exception among Arab countries because it is a place where liberal instincts and tolerance struggle to stay alive.

An important and enduring symbol, Lebanon was once the outstanding example of an (almost) democratic society in an inhospitable, dangerous region—a laboratory both for modernity and violence, as a Lebanese intellectual who was later assassinated once put it.

Young relates the growing tension between a domineering Syria and a Lebanese opposition in which charismatic leader and politician Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated and the Independence Intifada—the Cedar Revolution—broke out. His searing account of his country’s confrontation with its domestic and regional demons is one of hope found and possibly lost.

In this stunning narrative, Young tells us what might have been his country’s history, and what it may yet be.
 

About Michael Young

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Michael Young is a Technologist in the Research & Development group of The New York Times Company. He is currently focused on building new digital media products and services, primarily in the mobile space. Michael won the award for "Best Hack" at the Yahoo! BBC Hack Day 2007 (with colleague Nick Bilton) for their project Shifd.com. He has also created numerous Google Maps mashups, including the AP News + Google Maps mashup, http: //81nassau.com. He has a degree in computer science and mathematics from Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR). Michael currently lives in New York City with his wife, Kim.
 
Published March 25, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 340 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Ghosts of Martyrs Square

Kirkus Reviews

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A clear-eyed, poignant study of the political developments in Lebanon since the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri on Feb. 14, 2005.

Jan 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square:...

The New York Times

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The opinion editor of Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper explains the complex politics of Lebanon, 2005-09.

Jun 11 2010 | Read Full Review of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square:...

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