Friday, August 12, 2016

Yoav Alon's "The Shaykh of Shaykhs," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Shaykh of Shaykhs: Mithqal al-Fayiz and Tribal Leadership in Modern Jordan by Yoav Alon.

The entry begins:
Shaykh Mithqal al-Fayiz, the protagonist in this book, led such a fascinating life that it would make a spellbinding movie. Not only was he one of the greatest Arabian shaykhs of the twentieth century, he also was a founding father of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Mithqal was also able to pass on his power to his descendants, who wield great influence in Jordan today. Unlike many modern-day politicians who win a term in office, a shaykh like Mithqal did not only need to win power but also keep it, by proving to his constituency daily that he was the most able man to lead the tribe. Mithqal’s story has all the ingredients of an epic drama—a charismatic hero, battles and wars, political intrigue, constant twists and turns in the plot, sex and romance, and the exotic and rough life of the deserts of Arabia. This all takes place against a tapestry of rich historical significance, since the Shaykh did not only live through, but also played an active part in, many historic events that shaped the Middle East for almost one hundred years. I hope that a film director decides to bring The Shaykh of Shaykhs to life in a movie!

When I think about the character of Shaykh Mithqal al-Fayiz, I see the legendary Anthony Quinn, who sixty years ago played Shaykh Awda Abu Taya in the Hollywood classic, Lawrence of Arabia. Awda and Mithqal were contemporaries and both led powerful nomadic tribal confederacies in the area that became Jordan in 1921. Although Quinn's portrayal of Awda was at times...[read on]
Learn more about The Shaykh of Shaykhs at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Shaykh of Shaykhs.

My Book, The Movie: The Shaykh of Shaykhs.

--Marshal Zeringue