: English Novels About Arabs (1973-1998)

12-17-2012, 03:04 PM
English Novels About Arabs (1973-1998) :
An Annotated Bibliography
Literature has always played a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing decision making in the West. This is particularly true in maintaining an unsympathetic attitude towards the Arabs and the Muslims. By propagating certain myths and exaggerations about the Arabs, some of the Western novelists, consciously or unconsciously, have reinforced a hostile public thinking about the Arabs. The absence of works that address and refute these myths made things worse for the misinformed public in the West. By listing and providing some information about some of these novels, the present bibliography encourages interested researchers to address and study these books.
The great difficulties of finding information and/or locating novels about Arabs or Arab countries have led to the compilation this bibliography which covers a span of twenty-five years beginning with 1973 and ending with 1998. It includes novels written originally in English with no translations at all. The Novels are simply listed in a chronological order beginning with the books of 1973 and ending with those of 1998. Most of the novels are followed by short summaries of their plots or a statement about their themes. It is also indicated if there is a later edition or a reprint. During each single year, the entries are arranged alphabetically by author, and at the end of the bibliography there are three indices: a title index , an author index and an index for the ********s mentioned in the bibliography.
( 1973 1998 )

. . . . 1973 - 1998 .
1973 1998 . : .
The differences in cultural and religious backgrounds and the confrontations in battles have all contributed to the development of a hostile Western attitude towards the Arabs and the Muslims. Unfortunately, literature played a significant role in aggravating these differences by propagating distorted , negative images of the Arab and the Muslim world. A closer look at these demeaning images reveals a persistent absence of logic and a great tendency to exaggerate and falsify. It will be tedious to go over examples from all centuries but it suffices to mention some of the earliest distortions. For instance, in Medieval literature, the Arabs were referred to as heretics, heathens and Saracens. In Chansons De Geste, popular songs of the Middle Ages, the Saracens, meaning the Arabs, are presented as people who:
Spend their lives in hating and mocking at Christ and destroying his churches, they hate God and constantly placing themselves under the protection of Satan.[M]any of them are giants, whole tribes have horns on their heads, others are black as devils. They rush into battle making noises comparable to the barking of dogsthey use slaves, they eat their prisoners, they buy and sell their womenfolk and they practice polygamy1
The absence of logic and the distortion of reality are very obvious in the above quoted lines. Describing the Muslims as people who hate and mock Christ, destroy churches, hate God, place themselves under the protection of Satan are all attempts to arouse the anger and abhorrence of the Christian readers. That the Arabs have horns, eat their prisoners and sell their womenfolk are attempts to ridicule them and deprive them of their humanity.
Two more significant works should be mentioned in this regards: Dantes Divine Comedy (1310) and Marlows Tumberlaine (1590). The former contributed a great deal to the defamation of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers. Dante placed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) near the bottom of the Inferno, below the lustful, the gluttonous, and the heretical. Prejudices of the Middle Ages became more consolidated in the Elizabethan Literature which emphasized sensuality, cruelty, and lack of restraint as the main characteristics of the Turks. In Marlows Tumberlaine, the Arab betrays his own gods if they do not fulfill his material and wordly ambitions. The cruelty, sensuality and inability to restrain found in Tumberlaine are still common themes in novels about the Arabs.
However, the present day interest in the Arab world is closely connected with the political, strategic and economic significance of the region. The Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the anxiety about the supply of oil, the Iranian Revolution, the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut and finally the late Gulf War increased the interest of the Western readers in the area. The Arabs and their homeland have become an interesting subject for popular literature. Unfortunately, however, due to political considerations and ignorance about the Arab culture, most of the novelists resorted to stereotypes which provide a convenient shorthand in the identification of a particular group.1 Thus, to the Western readers the Arab world has become synonymous with danger and threat. Some of the common themes of these novels are: the Arabs as terrorists, the animosity of the Arabs towards Israel, the United States and the whole world, Arabs attempts to unite against the West, and the importance of controlling the Arab oil fields. Over the years, the myths and the exaggerations propagated by these literary works have become part and parcel of the Wests attitude towards the Arabs. President John F. Kennedy is right when he notes that the great enemy of truth is very often not the liedeliberate, continuous and dishonest but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
With so much talk about Globalization and World Peace at the beginning of the twenty first century, it is high time that the Arabs take more positive steps toward dispelling such myths which eventually will have unfavorable effects on political, economic, and military decisions concerning the Arab world. Since the things we read become part of our philosophy and shape our perception of things, more should be done towards understanding the nature of the works which contributed towards the making of the mentality of the present day Western reader. In other words, the contemporary Western attitude towards the Arabs is, in part, a result of habitual reading of works which are unfair to the Arabs. Due to its popularity, the novel, in all its sub-genres, is the literary form that has done most of the damage to the image of the Arabs in the West. A look at excerpts from some of these books is adequate to show the amount of misinformation and brainwashing that has, consciously or unconsciously, been done to generations of popular fiction Western readers in regards to the Arab or Muslim world.
Most of the novels of the seventies, for instance, portray the Arabs as enemies not only of the U.S. and Israel but also of the whole world in general. In Thirty-Four East (1976), for example, the Arabs kidnap the U.S. Vice-President and in The Tripoli Documents (1976) an Arab professor at Columbia University plots to kill the U. S. Secretary of State. In Year of the Golden Ape (1974) Arab terrorists place a nuclear device aboard a ship in San Francisco and in Black Sunday (1975) they plan to blow up the Super Bowl. In Goodbye California (1977) a Muslim group threatens to detonate atomic bombs that will cause earthquakes, tidal waves, and the sliding of California into the pacific. Other novels portray the Arabs as a permanent threat for Israel. In The Baghdad Defection (1973) the Arabs acquire German bacteriological weapons to use against the Jews and in A Clash of Hawks (1975) the Arabs are seen waging a holy war against Israel. In Saladin (1976) they plan to blow up the Israeli Intelligence Building and Thunderstrike in Syria (1979) shows the Syrians threatening to destroy the whole Jewish state. On the other hand, there are novels written to justify whatever means Israel takes to protect its settlements. Examples of this kind are novels like The Masada Plan. (1978) and Triple (1979); both offer a sympathetic account of Israels efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Some novels of the 1970s show that Arab terrorism goes beyond the U. S. and Israel. In Monsieur or, The Prince of Darkness (1974) Arabs carry out ritual murders throughout Europe and in 1975 Israeli Commandos show the Arabs plotting to blow up European targets. Significantly, it is always the Israelis who frustrate the plans of the Arab terrorists. In Dead Runner (1977) Heathrow Airport is held hostage by Arab terrorists while in The Aleph Solution (1978) the Palestinians plan to take over the United Nations and hold the whole world hostage. As usual, a brave Israeli foils the plan and saves the world. In The Hand of Fatima (1979) the Libyans pay European girls to carry bombs onto planes.
In addition to these common themes, the novels of the eighties suggest the Wests recognition of their dependence on the Arab oil and their fear of being, someday, under the mercy of united Arab or Muslim power. The resurgent Islam seems to have fueled this fear. In Green Monday (1980) greedy rich Arabs use advanced technology to cut the prices of crude oil thus pulling the rug from under a U. S. President. In Jihad (1981) the Arabs unite with the Iranians in a war against the world economy. That the West is concerned about the safety of the oil fields is more obvious in novels like The Gulf Scenario (1984) in which Americans have to interfere to frustrate Pakistani attempt to take over Arabian oil fields. In the same year (1984) the Zero-Hour Strike Force appears in which the Americans create a fake war between Israel and Saudi Arabia in order to intervene and seize the oil fields in the eastern part of the Kingdom. The lack of a practical substitute for oil seems to have distressed the people in the West. The Apocalypse Brigade(1981) dramatizes wishful thinking because it shows the United States attempt to disrupt oil production and replace it with a synthetic product. Their dependence on Arab oil becomes more distressing when the westerners consider the possibility of united Arab super power.
The concept of a united Arab world is also suggested in the publishing, in the eighties, of four novels dealing with the Islamic idea of the Mahdi. The first one is The Mahdi (1981) in which the Western intelligence services plant their own agent in Saudi Arabia and present him as the awaited Islamic Mahdi. In this way they hope to guarantee full control of the Islamic world. A 1982 publication, Tongues of Fire presents another Mahdi who is created by an Orientalist and let loose in the Sudan. In 1983, The Last of Days portrays the Mahdi threatening to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons and in 1984 Day of the Mahdi shows a Mahdi who plans to unite the Arabs under the leadership of General Qaddafi. The political bias in these books would be hard to miss. In addition to stereotyping the Arabs, they suggest the latent Western fear of a possible unity among Arabs.
The novels of the nineties are dominated by themes related to the Second Gulf War. The Invasion of Kuwait seems to have renewed the Wests anxiety over oil resources. In Jihad: World War in 2036 (1995) The Faithful, a group of North African Islamic nations, plan to bring the world to its knees by seizing the oil resources of the Middle East. In The Enemy Within (1996) an Iranian general grabs the power and annexes the oil fields of the Arabs. The Americans employ a Delta Force on a raid to assassinate the general and free the oil resources. In Pope Patrick.(1997) the writer highlights tension between the West and the resurgent Islam, which now controls the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
However, most of the books of the nineties deal with a number of themes related to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Assassination of political leaders is one theme. In Shadow Over Babylon. (1993) a U.S. security expert agrees to take on the assassination of Saddam Hussein for a $ 10 million pay off. In The Last Inauguration (1998) it is Saddam Hussein who orders the assassination of the U.S. president. Another theme is the frightening reality of Iraqs military abilities. The Fist of God (1994) suggests that Saddam has a doomsday weapon he is planning to use against the Coalition Allies when they launch Operation Desert Storm. Even after the war, the West continues to tell its people that Saddam is still a threat to the West. In Ultimatum (1994) we learn that it is impossible to thwart Saddam Hussein's attempts to revenge himself because this time Iraq has the A-bomb. It is suggested that Iraq is rebuilding its military capabilities. Bomb Grade (1997) shows how Russian local gangsters plan to send to Iraq enough plutonium to make three dozen atom bombs. Field of Thunder (1998) shows a CIA agent on a mission to destroy Iraqi biological weapons. The last theme related to Iraq in the novels of the 90s is Saddam Husseins terrifying acts to revenge himself. In Retribution (1995) he teams up with the mob to smuggle three atom bombs into the U.S. to drop them on its cities. In The Cob*** (1996) Iraqi agents are shown preparing biological terror in the U. S. In Nimitz Class ((1997) an Iraqi submariner is accused of bringing down an enormous nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.
The inflow of such popular novels reinforces the negative image of the Arabs which has become part of the Western readers philosophy and perception of what an Arab is. In the absence of books that do justice to the Arabs or the Arab world, these popular novels will certainly deepen Western prejudices about not only the Arabs but the whole Muslim world. This bibliography is an attempt to make these novels available for future research. It certainly compliments two valuable predecessors, albeit limited ones. The first one is Arabs in Popular Fiction Published in the U.S.A (1919-1973): An Annotated Bibliography by Dr. Muhammad Mansour Abahsain (1987). However, Abahsains study is limited to popular fiction which is published in the U.S.A. between 1919 and 1973. The second is the list which Reeva Simon provides in her valuable study titled The Middle East in Crime Fiction: Mysteries, Spy Novels and Thrillers from 1916 to the 1980s. Obviously, this last study is confined to crime fiction and it does not include books beyond 1987.
The present bibliography covers the twenty-five years between 1973 and 1998. The former year is very significant because it is associated with the oil embargo which made real the ever haunting fear of an Arab oil shut off. The scope of this study is certainly wider than its predecessors: it includes both popular fiction and well-established works published in the U.S. or elsewhere. The so called sensational novels are included because of two reasons. First, they are no longer looked down upon since the circle of its readers has widened tremendously to include well-educated people. Reeva Simon asserts that:
The sudden, obvious popularity of thrillers and spy novels has recently begun to pique scholarly interest over a literary genre hitherto not taken seriously but labeled grossly as pulp literature.more than one quarter of all fiction books published each year are sensational novels.more people read Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, and Helen MacInnes than have ever read Shakespeare or Flaubert.2
The second reason for including these novels is that they are just as influential in the formation of the readers perception about Arabs. Indeed, Janice Terry in her book Mistaken Identity, asserts that because these novels are sold almost everywhere, jacked in eye-catching covers and extensively publicized in daily newspapers, they affect public opinion far more than works that might have more literary or scholarly merit.3
Only works written originally in English are included. It would have been impossible to include works translated from different ********s into English. In the **** of the bibliography, the novels are simply listed chronologically beginning with 1973 and going on to 1998. for each year, the novels are arranged alphabetically by author. Most of the novels are followed by a short de******ion of their main themes or brief summary of the plot. Finally, there are author and title indices at the end of the study. It is hoped that this bibliography may help guide future research about the portrayal of Arabs in English literature.
Dewar, Evelyn. Perfumes of Arabia. London: Bles, 1973.
Murder and politics in an oil company town in Saudi Arabia.
Erdman, Paul, E. The Billion Dollar Sure Thing. New York: Scribner, 1973. Berkley Publishing, 1988.
In a time when the dollar is declining, an American who handles Mafia accounts switches to investment of Arab money when he devises a scheme to make billions.
Evans, Kenneth. A Rich Way to Die. London: Hale, 1973.
In Arabia, an Englishman discovers a plot to dump counterfeit currency in Britain.
Gilbert, Michael. The Ninety-Second Tiger. London: Hodder, 1973.
Trying to avoid a coup, an Arabian sheikh uses his TV adventure hero as a real advisor.
Holt, Victoria. The Curse of the Kings. London: Collins, 1973.
Keller, Beverly. The Baghdad Defection. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973.
Iraq leads the Arabs in a war against Israel. German scientists help the Arabs use bacteriological weapons against the Jews.
Mannin, Ethel. Mission to Beirut. London: Hutchinson, 1973.
Mason, Colin. Hostage. London: Macmillan, 1973; New York: Walker, 1973.
In retaliation to the Assassination of Moshe Dayan by the Arabs, right wing Israeli generals decide to blow up Cairo.
Coppel, Alfred. Thirty-Four East. London: Macmillan, 1974. Pan Books, 1976.
A group of Arabs kidnap the U.S. Vice-President whose plane has crashed in the Sinai desert.
Dickinson, Peter. The Poison Oracle. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974.
In a contemporary Arab kingdom, the threat of open warfare over oil rights leads to the murder of the sultan and his ****guard. Only the chimp knows who did it.
Durrell, Lawrence. Monsieur or, The Prince of Darkness : a Novel. New York: Viking, 1974; London, Faber, 1976.
A strange Arab banker leads a cult of Gnostics to carry out a number of ritual murders in France, Italy, and Egypt.
Epton, Nina Consuelo. The Burning Heart: a Novel ****d on the Life of Jane Digby, Lady Ellenborough. London :Macdonald and Jane's, 1974.
Forbes, Colin [pseud.: Raymond H. Sawkins]. Year of the Golden Ape. London: Collins, 1974; New York: Dutton, 1974.
In order to stop the U. S. from arming Israel, a Saudi oil minister hires a Frenchman to place a nuclear device aboard a ship in San Francisco.
Tsiras, Strates. Drifting Cities. A Trilogy. New York: Knopf; [distributed by Random House], 1974. Athens, Greece : New York : Kedros ; Distributed in North America by Paul & Co. Publs. Consortium, 1995. [1st American ed.]
Black, Lionel [pseud.: Dudley Barker]. Arafat is Next. London: Collins, 1975; New York: Stein and day, 1975. Day Books, 1980.
British agents attempt to assassinate Arafat in retaliation for the death of one of their friends killed by a bomb set by Palestinians.
Bowles, Paul. Three tales. New York: F. Hallman, 1975.
Charles, Robert. A Clash of Hawks. New York: Pinnacle Books, 1975. F. A. Thorpe, 1995.
The Arabs are waging a holy war against Israel, but Israel wins because it has the atomic bomb and is militarily superior.
Christian, John. Five Gates to Amageddon. London: Harwood-Smart; New York: St. Martins Press, 1975.
A retired U. S. Air force pilot foils a plan by an Israeli war hero to drop a neutron Bomb on the Aswan dam.
Haddad, C. A. The Moroccan. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. W.H. Allen, 1977.
The Moroccan-born Judah Biton penetrates PLO operations in Lebanon for Israeli intelligence.
Harris, Thomas. Black Sunday. New York: Putnaml, 1975. London: Hodder, 1975. Screen Play, 1975. Paramount Home Video, 1994.
In retaliation for American aid to Israel, an Arab group has determined to blow up the Super Bowl.
Mather, Berkely. With Extreme Prejudice. London: Collins, 1975; New York: Scribners, 1976.
A British agent is looking for a criminal combine responsible for a number of airline hijackings. He starts out at the Suez Canal and ends up in Cyprus in the middle of a war between Greece and Turkey.
Sugar, Andrew. Israeli Commandos. New York; Manor , 1975.
Israeli agents foil an Arab attempt to blow up targets in Europe.
Tannous, Peter, and Paul Rubinstein. The Petrodollar Takeover. New York: Putnam, 1975; London: Deutsch, 1976.
The Saudis plot to purchase General Motors.
Thompson, Anne Armstrong. Message from Absalom. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975. Sevenoaks: Coronet, 1977.
Benedictus, David. The Rabbis Wife. London: Blond, 1976. New York: M. Evans, 1976.
Arabs invade a London synagogue and kidnap the rabbis wife to a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Erdman, Paul, E. The Crash of '79. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976. Berkley Publishing, 1988.
The Arabs use oil embargo and their craftiness in money matters to rob the West.
Harris, Leonard. The Masada Plan. New York: Popular Library, 1978.
In response to a massive Arab attack, Israel decides to blow up several nuclear bombs strategically placed in several capitals.
Kane, Henry. The Tripoli Documents. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1976; London: Hamlyn, 1979.
An Arab who is a professor at Columbia University plots to kill the U.S. secretary of state.