Adrift: How Our World Lost Its Way

Breathtaking analysis of the current global crisis from one of the Arab world’s most respected writers

The United States is losing its moral credibility. The European Union is breaking apart. Africa, the Arab world, and the Mediterranean are becoming battlefields for various regional and global powers. Extreme forms of nationalism are on the rise. Thus divided, humanity is unable to address global threats to the environment and our health. How did we get here and what is yet to come? World-renowned scholar and bestselling author Amin Maalouf seeks to raise awareness and pursue a new human solidarity. In Adrift, Maalouf traces how civilizations have drifted apart throughout the 20th century, mixing personal narrative and historical analysis to provide a warning signal for the future.

Download cover

Categories: ,
Translator

Genre

Pages

336

Paperback ISBN

978-1-64286-075-7

Ebook ISBN

978-1-64286-078-8

Region

,

Publication date

September 1, 2020

Price

$18.99

Author

Amin Maalouf

Amin Maalouf was born in Beirut. He studied economics and sociology and then worked as an international reporter … Read more

Book Club Questions

 

  1. What feeling did the book leave you with? Do you feel different about our historical moment now?
  2. Do you share Amin Maalouf’s qualified hopefulness? Do you feel that, ultimately, we can make the most of a perhaps bleak situation?
  3. Do you personally remember any of the world events mentioned in the book, from when they were still breaking news? Has your opinion of the significance of these events shifted since then?
  4. Did Maalouf’s opinion of the West surprise you?
  5. What do you think of global leadership? Is it a good thing that it exists, is it inevitable that it exists? If not the USA or Europe, who will or should take up this role in the future?
  6. Where you live, do people mistrust any particular sections of the population, perceived as the “foreign business owners”? Is there an element of truth in this perception?
  7. Did you discover any poets or singers you didn’t know through this book?
  8. Does Maalouf sufficiently condemn those governments responsible for eradicating other countries’ left-wing intelligentsias? Will others “automatically” take their place? Or do these intelligentsias perhaps form “cultures-within-cultures” that can be successfully destroyed for generations?
  9. Does your knowledge of Amin Maalouf’s life story (or parts of it, as told in the book) change the way you perceive his opinions?
  10. As a Christian and Lebanese-born Frenchman, is Amin Maalouf uniquely placed to understand some of today’s tensions from both a Western and an Arab-Muslim perspective? Is there such a thing as a distinct Western or Arab-Muslim perspective?
  11. What did you think of Maalouf’s idea of the pluralism of “empires” (as opposed to nation states)? Do you think there are dangers for minorities in this model as well?
  12. Could global warming provide the world with a shared enemy? Is there anything else that might realistically unite a world with nationalisms and regionalisms in the ascendant?
  13. Does Maalouf strike you as a voice of reason in an unhinged world? Would you like to read more of his perspectives on history and geopolitics?
  14. Do the events discussed in the postscript shed a new light on the book as a whole?
  15. Leaving aside the topics of Adrift, did you enjoy Maalouf’s prose style? Might you be interested in reading any of his novels?

Reviews

Praise for Adrift

“Adrift is both an elegy for the Levant in which he grew up, and a reflection on the violent fragmentation and political malaise of globalised capitalism. In Maalouf’s portrait, the world in which Covid-19 made its calamitous appearance is disoriented and dangerously unequal, fragmented into identity-based groups, at war with one another yet all beholden to the market…”
The London Review of Books

“The writer and scholar delves back into his own history to analyze the tragic consequences of the shock prophesized by Samuel Huntington.”
Le Figaro Magazine

“True change is possible: Maalouf shows us possible ways forward in magnificent prose filled with wisdom.”
La Provence

“A marvelous, luminous piece of writing.”
Europe 1

“Wonderful and terrifying.”
La Grande Librairie France 5

“A powerful voice.”
France Culture

“Over rupture and conflict, Amin Maalouf has always preferred epics of encounters, beginnings, and connections.”
Le Point

“An alarming report on the state of the world.”
Le Soir