Lebanon's Civil War: Background information when reading An Unnecessary Woman

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An Unnecessary Woman

by Rabih Alameddine

An Unnecessary Woman
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron

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Beyond the Book:
Lebanon's Civil War

Lebanon is a tiny state (about two-thirds the size of Connecticut) bordering the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Its geographical location, nestled between Syria to the north and Israel to the south, combined with the complex and delicate balance between its various ethnic and religious populations (totaling about 5 million), have endowed the country with a political role and influence far greater than its size would predict. Shaped by both European and Middle Eastern cultures, it has been, in the words of CNN's country profile, "the gateway between Christian Europe and the Arab Middle East and North Africa."

map of the distribution of Lebanon's religious groupsThe ethnic makeup of Lebanon is diverse and complicated by religious self-identification as well as centuries of influx and intermarriage. The four largest religious denominations are Sunni, Shia, Maronite (an ethnically distinct group of Christians), and Greek Orthodox. There is also a significant population of Druze, an ethnically Arab people whose monotheistic ...

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