With Hezbollah's entry into the Lebanese government in 2009 and recent forceful intervention in the Syrian civil war, the potent Shi'i political and military organization continues to play an enormous role in the Middle East. Policymakers in the United States and Israel usually denounce it as a dangerous terrorist group and refuse to engage with it, yet even its adversaries need to contend with its durability and resilient popular support. Although Hezbollah's popularity has declined in many quarters of the Arab world, the Shi'i group--a hybrid of militia, political party, and social services and public works provider--remains the most powerful player in Lebanon. Augustus Richard Norton's Hezbollah stands as the most lucid, informed, and balanced analysis of the group yet written. This edition, with a new prologue and expanded afterword, analyzes recent momentous events--including Hezbollah's political performance in Lebanon, inconsistent responses to the Arab Spring, and recent military support of the al-Asad regime in Syria. Hezbollah is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Middle East.
Augustus Richard Norton is professor of international relations and anthropology at Boston University and a fellow of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. A former U.S. Army officer and West Point professor, he has conducted research in Lebanon for more than three decades.
"In this remarkably thorough, articulate portrait of Hezbollah, Norton . . . analyzes how the organization was formed, how it evolved and its current role in Lebanese politics."--Publishers Weekly
"Augustus Richard Norton's timely Hezbollah chronicles [a] dramatic evolution and its sweeping implications for the region and beyond. His lucid primer is the first serious reappraisal of the radical Shiite group since [the 2006] war shattered six years of relative calm on one of the world's most volatile frontiers."--Jonathan Finer, Washington Post Book World
"Norton, who has been studying Lebanon, and especially the Lebanese Shiites, for longer than Hezbollah has been in existence . . . offers here a brisk and balanced history . . . of Hezbollah while situating the party in the larger Lebanese and regional contexts."--L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
"The best recent study of Hezbollah."--Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek
"Augustus Richard Norton, an American academic and former U.S. army officer, has studied that Islamic fundamentalist organization since its formation. And now, in Hezbollah ... he offers a cogent analysis of its emergence and impact on Lebanese politics."--Sheldon Kirsher, Canadian Jewish News
"Norton has written a clear, concise history of Hezbollah with specific reference to its relevant sociopolitical context. Piquant anecdotes and richly textured details make the book enjoyable reading"--Kristian P. Alexander, Middle East Policy Council Fall
"This short, authoritative book, based on first-hand experience, efficiently analyses [Hezbollah's] status."--Iain Finlayson, The Times