This book focuses on the history of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), or Southern Yemen, which was an independent state from 1967 to 1990. Noel Brehony, who was a diplomat stationed in the country, aims to provide an account of the politics of the PDRY and the events that led to its unification with the north.
Yemen Divided provides a clear description of a very complex country. Brehony describes how the Yemeni people drove the British out of what was then known as South Arabia, and how the independence movement – the National Liberation Front – managed to seize and consolidate power, and establish the only Communist regime in the Arabian Peninsula, allied with the Soviet Union.
However, much of the book is dominated by descriptions of the internal factional struggles within the PDRY’s ruling cliques. It therefore does not provide a detailed social history of the country. The book also has a very narrow scope, concentrating on South Yemen from 1967 to 1994. For those looking for a more general history of the country, or an account of recent history leading up to the current uprising, Yemen Divided is not where to begin.
Given the revolutionary wave that has spread across the Middle East, it is important for socialists to be aware of the history of the region. Yemen Divided provides some useful insights.
Yemen Divided is published by I B Taurus, £35.99
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