by Steven C. Caton, Editor


Yemen is the only democratic republic in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Cover image for Yemen

April 2013


Pages 371
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Countries and Regions

Yemen is a country that is critical to U.S. security and our political interests, yet most Americans know virtually nothing about it. This book unlocks its secrets and explains its complexities in simple yet compelling language.

A nation with a rich civilization that has spanned 3,000 years, Yemen is the only democratic republic in the Arabian Peninsula. While events in modern-day Yemen are often in international news, most Americans know nothing about this country—nor are there easy-to-read, up-to-date resources for lay audiences. This book fills the gap in the literature. It describes Yemen's geography, economy, politics and government, history, culture, society and contemporary events, presenting a comprehensive but accessible overview of the country from many different angles—coverage that is long overdue.

Editor Steven C. Caton has taken care to create a resource that is readily comprehensible to non-specialists such as high school and college students and general readers as well as highly informative for those with previous knowledge about Yemen. His thorough treatment provides synthetic overviews of key topics, discusses and dismisses certain misconceptions about Yemen, offers surprising perspectives on the relatively unknown country, and underscores Yemen's importance to the region and the wider world—both in ancient times and today.


  • Supplies a deep examination of a country that most policy experts only possess a superficial knowledge of
  • Provides insights into why tribes have been crucial throughout Yemen's history and even to the modern day
  • Reveals why characterizations of Yemen as "a weak state," "lawless," or "lacking a rule of law" are inaccurate and simplistic
Series Description

Nations in Focus

How did Poland and Slovakia avoid a GDP recession during the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–08—the only two member nations of the European Union to do so? What are the historic origins of the ongoing strife and tension in the Middle East, and what new developments and factors are adding to the discord in the 21st century? How are the lives of the Chinese people changing as China rapidly expands its economy and its international role? Students, travelers, business people, and policymakers have questions like these. ABC-CLIO’s Nations in Focus provides the answers.

Titles within ABC-CLIO’s Nations in Focus collection provide fascinating and informative portraits of nations large and small that play key roles in global and regional affairs.

ABC-CLIO’s groundbreaking Nations in Focus explores many of the world's most intriguing and important countries, combining fascinating details with an insider’s eye for defining characteristics. The series helps students, business people, and travelers understand the richness and complexity of each individual country—and appreciate its key role in the global community.

Nations in Focus brings readers up to date with each nation’s history, geography, politics, economics, and contemporary issues. Offering unprecedented coverage on economic, cultural, and societal topics, the volumes provide analysis on issues of ethnicity, religion, gender, and education, as well as leisure, sports, and popular culture. The depth of content is complemented by a richly illustrated format that helps bring the topic to life.


  • Helps build a deeper understanding of countries that play major regional and global roles
  • Counters common myths and misconceptions with in-depth, factual materials that convey the richness and complexity of each country
  • Provides a context for understanding the everyday life of people in foreign countries that is essential for students and others seeking to learn more about the world's nations


  • A series of narrative chapters on history, geography, politics, society, culture, and more
  • A chronology of key historical developments up to the present
  • Sidebars on key biographies, places, and events
  • A Facts and Figures section providing statistical data on a variety of important topics
  • Information on culturally significant holidays and events
  • More than 100 photographs per title
  • A directory of business, cultural, government, and tourist organizations
  • An annotated bibliography of key print and nonprint resources
  • Glossary sections defining important terms and concepts
Author Info

Steven C. Caton, PhD, is professor of contemporary Arab studies in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. He was also director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Harvard from 2005 to 2009, and is honorary dean of the Yemen College of Middle East Studies in Sana'a, Yemen Arab Republic. His published works include "Peaks of Yemen I Summon": Poetry as Cultural Practice in a North Yemeni Tribe; Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology; and Yemen Chronicle: An Anthropology of War and Mediation. Caton holds a doctorate in anthropology and linguistics from the University of Chicago.



"A great reference for those with more than a tourist interest in Yemen or for undergraduate-level students looking for a general overview on the country."—Booklist

"Part of the Middle East in Focus series of country studies, this volume on Yemen fills a gap. That it represents the third Middle Eastern country addressed in the series (and is within the first dozen countries of the worldwide series) shows that the editors understand the importance of this often-overlooked nation. . . . The volume is well illustrated with numerous photographs and several well-chosen maps."—Choice

"An admirably nuanced narrative for Middle East reference collections."—Library Journal

"The third volume in the ABC-CLIO Middle East in Focus (the first two on Saudi Arabia and Egypt) maintains the excellence of quality expected from this prestigious publisher and series. . . . Although it is a reference work, it is not hard to become captivated by the book and read it from cover to cover. . . . Outstanding."—ARBA

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