HOW HAS HEZBOLLAH, WHICH HAS NOW WON TWO WARS WITH ISRAEL, managed to become the most dynamic movement in the Islamic world, why do millions share its beliefs, and what do they want? The Islamic revolutionary movement has become the most powerful source of militancy in the Middle East, forging a mass following and global appeal. A Privilege to Die offers the first on-the-ground look at the men and women whose fervor has made Lebanon’s Party of God the gold standard for radical movements across the region and the world.
Through deep and vivid portraits of those who do Hezbollah’s grassroots work—on the battlefields, in politics, in nightclubs, and with scout troops—Thanassis Cambanis, a veteran Middle-East correspondent, puts a human face on the movement that has ushered in a belligerent renaissance and inspired fighters in Gaza, the West Bank, Egypt, Iraq, and beyond. This riveting, remarkable narrative provides an urgent and important exploration of militancy in the Middle East.
Thanassis Cambanis is a journalist who has been writing about the Middle East for more than a decade. His first book, A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel, was published in 2010. He writes “The Internationalist” column for The Boston Globe and is a correspondent for The Atlantic. Thanassis regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and other publications. He is a fellow at The Century Foundation in New York City. Thanassis lives in Beirut, Lebanon, with his wife, Anne Barnard, a reporter for The New York Times, and their two children.
“Depressingly excellent… Lays out the near-brilliant way in which Hezbollah manages to be both the party of the downtrodden and the puppet of two of the area’s most retrograde dictatorships. Cambanis shows how the trick is pulled.”—Christopher Hitchens, Slate, author of Hitch-22 and God Is Not Great
“An indispensable guide to understanding the region’s most formidable extra-state actor. Cambanis skillfully pinpoints the reasons for Hezbollah’s political success. . . . In prose that is often eloquent yet earthy, indicative of scholarly erudition as well as a storyteller’s flair for capturing the complexities of human psychology, Cambanis describes the seemingly contradictory impulses he discovers.” —The Christian Science Monitor