Bombardier Books

When Magic Failed: A Lebanese Childhood Caught Between Tradition and Modernity

By

From the author of The Arab Predicament and Dream Palace of the Arabs comes a beautiful and haunting memoir of growing up in Lebanon in the ’50s and ’60s—the story of a sensitive young man and budding intellectual caught between tradition and modernity, east and west.

As one of the most profound and insightful scholars of the Middle East, Fouad Ajami’s sensibility was powerfully shaped by his childhood and youth in Lebanon in the ’50s and ’60s. The time was a transitional one—not only for the Middle East, but for America and the world. Lebanon in this era was just coming into its own as a cosmopolitan destination of the international jet set as well as earnest American educators seeking to modernize Arab society. The disruptive forces of the Middle East—the Cold War, the Palestinian conflict, religious extremism, the money and oil of the Gulf—were only just beginning to appear. In this haunting and beautifully written memoir of his Lebanese childhood, the late Middle East scholar, Fouad Ajami, casts a discerning light into the corners and alleyways of an Arab reality that would later erupt into full view.