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This book is about the land and people of parts of the interior of Syria and Jordan. At the beginning of the nineteenth century most of the people were nomads and only a small proportion of the land was cultivated. Today nomads are few, peasants are numerous and nearly all the land that will bear a crop is under cultivation. This study shows how the present situation came about as the state extended and strengthened its hold on the countryside, the economy of the country developed, landlords and peasants took up hitherto uncultivated land and nomads settled down to become farmers. The concluding chapters discuss the effects of population growth, mechanised farming and overgrazing on the semi-arid environment and its inhabitants. Norman Lewis combines geographical, historical and ethnographical material derived from an immense variety of sources, including unpublished manuscripts and fieldwork undertaken over a period of forty years.
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