This study presents a comprehensive analysis of political developments in the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war. The author argues that despite the complexity of Lebanese society and a host of unresolved issues that triggered the civil war, Lebanese political discourse and political activity during the period under discussion (1990-2000) was dominated by a single issue: economic reconstruction. The author establishes the main reasons behind this and proceeds to render a penetrating analysis of the Lebanese political setting as it impinges on the reconstruction process. Tom Pierre Najem argues that while the major reason for the overriding focus on reconstruction was obviously economic - the need to rebuild the country after 15 years of war - it was also driven by political considerations, notably the role of Syria in the governance of Lebanon. Due to Syrian political imperatives, other major issues were put aside, and for reasons explained in the book, the economic reconstruction process was the only truly important subject that was open to debate, and this fact alone was responsible for its centrality in postwar Lebanese political discourse.
Following an examination of the interaction of the Syrian and Lebanese political systems, the study proceeds to investigate the nature of the government that was put in place to direct the reconstruction of the war-torn country - that of the billionaire businessman Rafiq Hariri. The book then examines the actual reconstruction process at close quarters and assesses the political and economic implications for the Lebanese people, concluding with an appreciation of Prime Minister Hariri's performance during his eight years in power.