The World through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East by Shibley Telhami

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  • July 2014
    Book Review

    The World through Arab Eyes is a 20-year project based on 10 years of actual public opinion polling in the Arab world by the author. It offers an insightful counterpoint to the dominant literature on the Arab world through its recognition of the value of the public even as power is concentrated among a narrow elite. Scholars and political commentators often discount the power of opinion as it lacks the fundamental push required to make systemic changes. Public opinion may shift or be manipulated; it may reveal biases and cause some crises but never more than that if not backed by violence or structured opposition. This understanding has pervaded most studies of closed authoritarian systems including those in the Arab world.