by Steven C. Caton, Editor


Yemen is the only democratic republic in the Arabian Peninsula.

Print Flyer
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
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

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

China cover imageJapan cover imageThe Koreas cover image
Nigeria cover imageEthiopia cover imageEritrea cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips