The Hidden Hand
Middle East Fears of Conspiracy
by Daniel Pipes
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996
Paperback edition: St. Martin's Press, 1998
In The Hidden Hand, Daniel Pipes provides the first full-length study of conspiracy theories in the Middle East, revealing the power of such theories in determining the political life of the region. Placing conspiracy theories in their historical context, Pipes shows how they have come to suffuse life in the Middle East - from the most private family conversations to the highest and most public levels of politics. He then proceeds to examine conspiracism as a partial explanation for much of the region's problems, including its record of political extremism, violence, and lack of modernization. Concluding with speculations about the future of conspiracism, Pipes makes a very strong case that conspiracy theories are key to understanding the often complicated political culture of the Middle East.
Read the Introduction to The Hidden Hand
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Read an excerpt from The Hidden Hand: on the "Hempher" conspiracy
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Critics on The Hidden Hand
"It was original of Daniel Pipes, the editor of the Middle East Quarterly, to approach the Middle East by way of conspiracy theory, and The Hidden Hand contains much that illuminates, and sometimes supplants, the usual academic analyses of Mideast society and politics."
- David Pryce-Jones, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 1996
"The definitive book on conspiracy theories. … Daniel Pipes, in The Hidden Hand, truly makes history, in a primer on conspiracy theories which is at turns educational, very saddening, incredible, and totally uproarious."
- Peter Theroux, The Boston Book Review, January/February 1997
"The Hidden Hand is a remarkable work of scholarship. Daniel Pipes, the editor of the Middle East Quarterly and a specialist on Arab affairs, has pulled together an enormous body of writing from a broad array of sources - journals, memoirs, speeches, and sermons - to illuminate a salient aspect of Middle Eastern political reality."
- Joseph Shattan, Commentary, February 1997
"In his meticulously researched book The Hidden Hand, Pipes explains why the Middle East has proved so rife with conspiracy theories, and what the stakes are for the West."
- Lawrence F. Kaplan, The Weekly Standard, March 24, 1997
"To anyone who really wants to understand the irrational complexities of the Middle East, Mr. Pipes' groundbreaking analysis is must reading. It is a major contribution to understanding the Middle East."
- Steven Emerson, The Washington Times, March 30, 1997
"Laced with style and substance, the book presents a lucid, brilliant, and at times controversial picture of the rationale and motives behind the conspiracy theories, prime targets, and the ways in which they affect the region...Daniel Pipes is at his best in this lucid, provocative, and gripping work."
- P. R. Kumaraswamy, Digest of Middle East Studies, Fall 1997
"Meticulously researched...the book is valuable in highlighting an aspect of Middle Eastern politics which has been previously ignored."
- Kevin Wein, Middle East Insight, November-December, 1998
"Pipes' indictment of conspiracy theories and their detrimental impact upon the Middle East is a persuasive one. His argument is clear and supported with extensive research. The book is highly readable and easily accessible to a reader unfamiliar with the region."
- Dov Waxman, SAIS Review: A Journal of International Affairs, Winter-Spring 1999