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The Birth of Modern Yemen


You know a country must have issues when its problems stick out in a region as troubled as the Middle East. Brian Whitaker's latest book examines the tumultuous course of events in Yemen during the early 1990s.

Those of you with an interest in the region will already know that this time period was when the Marxist People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) and Arab nationalist Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) merged to form the present day Republic of Yemen. Whitaker analyzes why the two states felt obliged to come together at all, given their divided history. He then describes the power struggle this caused among their respective groups of leaders, ultimately culminating in a civil war won by the north.

We at 'Aqoul quite like the author, but I'm afraid his writing here, originally meant to be a PhD thesis, is unlikely to turn into a riveting bestseller. Yemen may be falling apart, but it lacks the geopolitical relevance of, say, Saudi Arabia, and this piece is not meant to be a collection of amusing anecdotes that might interest a broad section of the general public. That being said, Whitaker has clearly done some homework. Academics are likely to appreciate his neutral approach to the various parties in Yemeni politics, as well as his ability to weave together international and local trends. If you have an interest in Yemen, this book may well be worth a look.

The Birth of Modern Yemen is available as a free e-book.

Posted by dubaiwalla at August 6, 2009 03:18 AM
Filed Under: 18th - 20th century

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Comments

Thanks for mentioning this. I didn't write it with any bestseller pretensions. It's meant for the fairly small number of people who take a serious interest in Yemen, and I hope it also provides some context for understanding the current turmoil there.

Posted by: Brian Whitaker at August 7, 2009 03:45 AM

The other real question is if it's possible to make/get an autographed e-book. I guess that's why there are digital signatures.

Posted by: matthew hogan at August 8, 2009 11:59 AM

Since Brian Whitaker is obviously reading -- please, couldn't you make it downloadable in a single file instead of by chapter?

Posted by: alle at August 9, 2009 04:53 AM

As a Yemeni, I am really happy to read this book. The Modern Yemen has many problems these days. Maybe he will die young. If there is no support from some countries like USA and EU, Yemen will be the good heaven for Al-Qaeda. Another problem is also in the area called Saada near the border of KSA. The rebiles there are support by Iran to fight against the Yemeni government.

Posted by: Anwar Al-Buraihi at November 14, 2009 01:57 AM

The relevance of this went up just slightly sometime during the ChanuKwaChristmas interregnum, don't ask me when, I'm still reeling from the combined effects of excess consumption of rice & beans & pernil (not halaal or kosher or anything else; the cheapest, most heart-attack inducing part of the porcine anatomy; it's merely sinfully delicious) & rum:

http://www.examiner.com/x-15870-Populist-Examiner~y2009m12d28-Joe-Lieberman-Yemen-is-tomorrows-war-we-need-to-be-preemptive

I believe the proper noun for this person is douchebag? I may be wrong, and am willing to be corrected.

Posted by: pantom at December 28, 2009 08:49 PM

The relevance of this went up just slightly sometime during the ChanuKwaChristmas interregnum, don't ask me when, I'm still reeling from the combined effects of excess consumption of rice & beans & pernil (not halaal or kosher or anything else; the cheapest, most heart-attack inducing part of the porcine anatomy; it's merely sinfully delicious) & rum:

http://www.examiner.com/x-15870-Populist-Examiner~y2009m12d28-Joe-Lieberman-Yemen-is-tomorrows-war-we-need-to-be-preemptive

I believe the proper noun for this person is douchebag? I may be wrong, and am willing to be corrected.

Posted by: pantom at December 28, 2009 08:50 PM

The relevance of this went up just slightly sometime during the ChanuKwaChristmas interregnum, don't ask me when, I'm still reeling from the combined effects of excess consumption of rice & beans & pernil (not halaal or kosher or anything else; the cheapest, most heart-attack inducing part of the porcine anatomy; it's merely sinfully delicious) & rum:

http://www.examiner.com/x-15870-Populist-Examiner~y2009m12d28-Joe-Lieberman-Yemen-is-tomorrows-war-we-need-to-be-preemptive

I believe the proper noun for this person is douchebag? I may be wrong, and am willing to be corrected.

Posted by: pantom at December 28, 2009 08:53 PM

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