Hammond, Andrew. Pop Culture in the Arab World. ABC-CLIO, hardcover, 376 pages. ISBN: 1851094490, $85.
Reviewed by Issandr El Amrani, TBS book reviews editor
The past decade saw a boom
of Arabic pop music both in the region, notably through vehicles such
as satellite television, as well as internationally. In particular, the
rise of sultry starlets and songstresses (mostly from Egypt and Lebanon)
has caused something of a social and political upheaval. In recent years,
parliaments in Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco (at least) habe debated
whether the dangerous curves and heaving bosoms of stars such as Heifa
Wehbi, Nancy Agram or Ruby -- seen in music videos that try to outdo each
other in brawen sexuality -- were a threat to national security. Andrew
Hammond's Pop Culture Arab World! examines these phenomena, gets
the backstories to the stars' lives and the controversy around their careers.