Review: “Hamas: A Beginner’s Guide” by Khaled Hroub

Hm. I’m in two minds about this one. Reading it, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was rushed out in the wake of the January 2006 Hamas election victory — an attempt by Pluto Press to make a quick buck. It reads somewhat like a first draft in places, as if it were barely copy edited (there are several grammatical errors). However, in Pluto’s defence, they regularly publish extremely important books whose commercial value is probably less than “best seller”, so one can’t really blame them for wanting to make a bit of cash.All this is not to say that Hroub does not know what he talking about. Quite the contrary. It is clear he is extremely knowledgeable about the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement. But the book is frustratingly short on detail and, often, named sources. It is true that this is only meant to be a basic introduction, and insofar as that was the goal of the book it certainly succeeds. And if you are new to the conflict, it does a good job of dispelling the main Western myths about Hamas.

All, in all good, but it left me wanting to read Hroub’s more detailed book on Hamas.

Reviewed 3 March 2008.

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