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Lebanon, a country no bigger than Connecticut, has become a battleground for the political, strategic and ideological conflicts of its neighbors and the great powers. It has come to reflect the broad historical experiences of the modern Middle East. Beware of Small States is an elegant and incisive history of Lebanon culminating with the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah and its aftermath. David Hirst—a former Middle East correspondent for The Guardian, whose tough, skeptical voice has earned him death threats and seen him banned from six Arab countries—crafts a narrative that is essential for anyone wishing to understand the current political climate of the Middle East.