Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Hezbollah: A Short History (Revised and Updated Edition)

by Augustus Richard Norton Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 272 pages
AU$44.99 NZ$46.95
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
add to your cart
& Academics:
Revised and updated with a new preface, conclusion and an entirely new chapter on activities since 2011.


With Hezbollah's entry into the Lebanese government in 2009 and forceful intervention in the Syrian civil war, the potent Shi‘i political and military organization continues to play an enormous role in the Middle East. A hybrid of militia, political party, and social services and public works provider, the group is the most powerful player in Lebanon. Policymakers in the United States and Israel usually denounce Hezbollah as a dangerous terrorist organization and refuse to engage with it, yet even its adversaries need to contend with its durability and resilient popular support. Augustus Richard Norton’s incisive account stands as the most lucid, informed, and balanced analysis of Hezbollah yet written--and this fully revised and updated edition features a new prologue and conclusion, as well as two new chapters largely devoted to the group’s recent activities, including its involvement in Syria. Hezbollah is a work of perennial importance and remains essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the Middle East.


First published in 2007.

"A dynamic and multifaceted account of one of the most important parties in the modern Middle East. . . . Norton deserves praise for writing an insightful and multilayered work."--Publishers Weekly

"[Norton's] lucid primer is the first serious reappraisal of the radical Shiite group since [the 2006] war shattered six years of relative calm on one of the world's most volatile frontiers."--Jonathan Finer,Washington Post Book World

"[Norton] offers here a brisk and balanced history . . . of Hezbollah while situating the party in the larger Lebanese and regional contexts."--L. Carl Brown,Foreign Affairs

"The best recent study of Hezbollah."--Fareed Zakaria,Newsweek

"Augustus Richard Norton, an American academic and former U.S. army officer, has studied that Islamic fundamentalist organization since its formation. And now, in Hezbollah ... he offers a cogent analysis of its emergence and impact on Lebanese politics."--Sheldon Kirsher, Canadian Jewish News

"A clear, concise history of Hezbollah with specific reference to its relevant sociopolitical context. Piquant anecdotes and richly textured details make the book enjoyable reading."--Kristian P. Alexander,Middle East Policy Council

"This short, authoritative book, based on first-hand experience, efficiently analyses [Hezbollah's] status."--Iain Finlayson, The Times

More praise forHezbollah--Bruce Elder,Sydney Morning Herald

"How do you classify and develop policy toward an organization that has committed acts of terrorism in the past, that currently provides important social services . . . that defends its country from occupation . . . that plays by the rules in official Lebanese national politics? . . . Norton elucidates these domestic and international complexities in Hezbollah: A Short History. . . With other similarly complex organizations on the rise, such as Hamas in Palestine, Norton provides a model of how we might begin to think through their multidimensional, seemingly contradictory natures."--Allen McDuffee, In These Times

"In his new book Hezbollah, Augustus Richard Norton . . . provides a succinct account of the group's rise from the chaos created by Israel's invasions and occupation of Lebanon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which ended only in 2000. Mr. Norton also explores the origins and political orientation of the group, now led by the Shiite cleric Hasan Nasrallah, in a complex web of religious and political identities in Lebanon--with a special emphasis on the role of Shia Islam in the organization."--Richard Byrne, Chronicle of Higher Education

"The most fluent survey of Hezbollah to date. This extremely accessible yet scholarly read covers the Lebanese resistance group from its inception to the current Lebanese political crisis, aided by a collection of poignant photographs and maps."--Margeret Hall, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"Concise and authoritative . . . . . [Norton] provides a patient and measured account of the origins and evolution of the organization. . . . [A]n excellent primer."--Rami G. Khouri,Daily Star

"In an easily read, easily comprehended book, Norton traces the origins and history of Hezbollah.... The twisting allegiances of the players, the role of Syria and other neighboring states, the emergence of discord and sectarianism as the young movement matured and began to intrude on the elected government, all take place in the pressure cooker of a land and people long torn, used by factions for their own purposes."--Suzi Brozman, Atlanta Jewish Times

"In this highly informative, jargon-free book, Norton, one of America's top experts in Lebanese politics, provides an objective account of the genesis and development of Hezbollah, explaining its central role in contemporary Lebanon."--Choice

"The book is a must read for anyone wanting to have an idea of the Lebanese puzzle and the role played in it by one of the most interesting political actors emerging in the Middle East."--International Spectator

"A good, concise survey by a perceptive student of the Lebanese Shia."--David Gardner,Financial Times

"A dedicated researcher and writer, Norton has contacts all across Lebanon who are both his friends and informants. He writes with the same fluency about Shi'a religious customs as he does about Lebanese politics. The book comes with advance praise from scholars who tell us Norton has written an accessible and balanced account of a movement poorly understood by many in the United States who too often view the Middle East through the 'terrorist' lens."--Donna Robinson Divine, Democratiya

--Iain Finlayson,The Times--Rula Abisaab,Journal of Palestine Studies

"Norton's work is essential for those more concerned with an approach that rejects the rhetoric of the 'war on terror.' His historical and social analysis of Hezbollah's origin and subsequent evolution into its current manifestation is as objective an analysis as one can hope for--not to mention timely and fascinating."--Michael Teague, Al Jadid Magazine

"Few scholars are as qualified to situate Hezbollah in local, regional, and socio-religious contexts as Augustus Richard Norton."--Joel Gordon, Journal of Military History

"[T]his new edition of Norton's book is probably the best introduction to Hezbollah for a general reader, or even college students. The author cannot be accused of writing apologetically about the party because he does not shy away from dealing with Hezbollah's practice and ideology of violence. Amid the intense and ongoing propaganda surrounding Hezbollah, this short volume succeeds in rising above the passions of the debate."--As'ad AbuKhalil, Journal of Palestine Studies

Augustus Richard Norton is professor of international relations and anthropology at Boston University and a fellow of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. A former U.S. Army officer and West Point professor, he has conducted research in Lebanon for more than three decades.