“This erudite, quick-paced book demonstrates what the mix of modernity and clans can create: ‘medieval Iceland plus Kalashnikovs.’” — The New York Times
“Accessible, mesmerizing, and compelling.” — New York Journal of Books
“A highly revealing study with global implications.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Nuanced … an entertaining mix of anecdote & ethnography.” — Publisher’s Weekly
- The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC (New York)—12 minutes:
- The American Bar Association (Chicago)—15 minutes:
- “Think,” with Krys Boyd, on KERA (Dallas)—50 minutes:
- Central Standard, with Susan Wilson, on KCUR (Kansas City)—one hour:
- The Kathleen Dunn Show on WPR (Madison)—one hour: click here for the audio file
Click here to read an excerpt.
Click here to watch a lecture about the book’s national security implications.
“Mark Weiner has raised the crucial yet neglected subject of tribal identity and loyalty in modern society. The sweep of his book and the depth of his analysis make it essential reading for anyone interested in connecting past to present in order to chart a felicitous path to the future.” — Amb. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
“A brilliant book.” — Michael Curtis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, writing in American Thinker.
“The Rule of the Clan is a delight to read—an engaging tour of societies in which kinship groups have been the primary form of social organization, from Anglo-Saxon England to medieval Iceland to southern Sudan, modern India, the Philippines, and much more. It is also an insightful meditation on what proponents of individual freedom must grasp if they are to realize their aspirations in societies made up not of rational abstractions, but people like us.” — Rogers Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania
“The Rule of the Clan gives a fascinating glimpse into a world that few Westerners today understand: a world of honor, shame, collective responsibility, and violent feuds. This book tells us what we need to know if we really want to modernize the clan societies of the Middle East and central Asia—and if we want to save our own liberal democracies from descending into clannish chaos.”— Ian Morris, Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University, author of Why the West Rules—for Now
“A must read for anyone interested in understanding the complex relation between tribal identity, law, and custom, in seeking common ground between the Western and Islamic legal and political traditions, and in connecting the past to present in the service of legal reform.” — Abdullah Saeed, Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne
“The Rule of the Clan confronts an uncomfortable but important reality. In the process it challenges the careless liberal assumption that national identity is an anachronism and a strong state a threat.” —Paul Collier, Director for the Center for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford, former director of the Development Research Group of the World Bank
“Perhaps the least publicized obstacle to the development of the rule of law and respect for individual rights in the Middle East and elsewhere has been the persistence of clan-based systems of justice. Mark Weiner’s The Rule of the Clan underscores eloquently the historical role of the clan in societies as diverse as medieval Iceland and the present-day Palestinian Authority. But Professor Weiner’s book goes beyond historical exposition to raise, backed by copious research and cogent examples, the urgent question: how and whether the transition from clan-based systems of justice to systems based on the rule of law, which have in the past taken centuries, can be accomplished in our time, when the need for change is as apparent as the resistance to it is entrenched.” — John J. Farmer, Jr., Senior Counsel, 9/11 Commission; Dean, Rutgers-Newark School of Law
A review of The Rule of the Clan by Scott Mann of The Stability Institute:
“It has been said that the past can be a reliable guide to the future. Mark Weiner’s The Rule of the Clan is a fascinating case in point. He dissects modern society to reveal the ancient form of social order from which it emerged, then portrays convincingly how those earlier forms can reassert themselves under certain conditions. His book should be of great interest to scholars of history, government, and human behavior alike.” — Rick Docksai, World Future Review
“Weiner … thinks the world’s proud individualists would be wise to recognize clan rule’s strengths (in both the merit and endurance senses of the word) as they work to spread liberal democracy.” — Stanford Magazine
“Often, nonfiction does not hold my attention, even if it is about a topic that I thought would interest me. This book is an exception. Drawing upon others’ research as well as his own, Weiner shows convincingly (to me, at least) that family-based power will govern when few or no other structures exist in a society. He helped me understand the reasons for many actions and qualities of clan-like organizations. I now see patterns in many political and cultural struggles around the world today. The book flows along at just the right pace.” — A reviewer on Amazon.com
“Probably the best popular political philosophy book I’ve read in years.” —Mike Silverman, Red Letter Day, “Favorite Books of 2013“
“A powerful way to re-imagine the world. My biggest disappointment was that it needed to be longer.” — A reviewer on Amazon.com
“The best book I have read this year … A libertarian case for a strong central state … directly challenges what many libertarians currently believe.” — Arnold Kling, economist, askblog and Library of Economics and Liberty
“This should be required reading for modern American liberals and libertarians, particularly the type who tend towards the anarchist side of the political spectrum. We don’t need to imagine the type of world that would exist in the absence of a state, along with its monopoly on the initiation of force. We have thousands of years of history to suggest what decentralized executive authority very well may look like. The challenge for anarchists is to explain how a stateless society would not devolve either into some some post-Soviet system of gangsterism or a blood line obsessed clan society like modern Pakistan. This is a challenging read for anyone who rejects the social contract and the construct known as the state. This book may very well raise questions that most anti-state libertarians would rather not like to confront.” — A reviewer on Goodreads
“This is one of the best political philosophy books that I’ve read in a long time. While authors like Nozick and Buchanan accept the normative ideal of a purely contractual society, but reject anarchy out of practical considerations, Weiner accepts the practical viability of anarchy, but contests the value of its normative ideal.” — Vlad Tarko, on the blog r3lativ
Click here to read an interview with the blog Concurring Opinions.
Click here to read a week-long online academic symposium about the book on Concurring Opinions, with an international group of participants.