Professor Dresch combines ethnography with history to describe the tribal system over the last thousand years, and examines the values the tribal people themselves bring to the contemporary world of nation states. Drawing heavily on local histories and unpublished documents, as well as onthree years' field work, he discusses the place of these tribes in the world around them from the tenth century to the twentieth. Beginning and ending with the means by which tribesmen define themselves, he discusses the relation of the major tribes to the area as a whole, to pre-modern Islamic learning, the Zaydi Imamate, and ideas of contemporary statehood. This book will be of interest to readers concerned with the relation of anthropology to history and also to those from other disciplines who are concerned with Arabia past and present. It offers a fresh approach to issues which arise throughout the Middle East.