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[…] Zeina Maasri's book is a key intervention in studies of visual culture and mass media in the Middle East. The material is simply gorgeous, and we must thank the publishers for reproducing as many as 150 of the 700 posters referred to in the book, some from Maasri's private collection and some from the American University of Beirut's Jafet Library. The colorful pictures make this a very engaging book to read. But so does Maasri's measured analysis and keen eye for the semiotics of Lebanon's civil war posters.[…]

Link to full-text review

Sune Haugbolle, Arab Studies Journal; Vol. XVIII No. 1, Spring 2010; pp. 334-43.
Off The Wall Political Posters Of The Lebanese Civil War
By Zeina Maasri
Published by I.B.Tauris, London 2009.

Foreword by Fawwaz Traboulsi

204 pages (including 64 colored)

ISBN: 978 1 84511 951 5
In this lavishly illustrated work, Zeina Maasri tells the tumultuous story of the struggle for Lebanon through the poster wars which raged on its streets. From 1975 to 1990, different factions in Lebanon's civil conflict flooded the streets with posters to mobilize their constituencies, undermine their enemies, and create public sympathy for their cause. Showcased here for the first time, the posters display a dramatic clash of cultures, ideologies and meanings. Maasri shows how the iconography of the posters changed over time, and links this to changing political identities and communities as the war progressed. She looks at the aesthetic influences of different groups, from modern Arab visual culture to as far afield as Latin America and revolutionary Iran. She urges a radical rethink of the idea and function of political posters in civil war contexts, too often dismissed as mere 'propaganda', arguing instead that they should be seen as sites of symbolic struggle, every bit as fiercely contested as the streets they adorn. Combining in-depth knowledge of the local context with fascinating insights into the semiotics of visual media, Off the Wall is a highly original contribution to our understanding of visual culture, civil conflict, and the politics of the Middle East.

This book is in conjunction with the author's ongoing poster archive project and exhibition titled Signs of Conflict.
Maasri’s contribution lies not only in presenting us with the first scholarly book that offers a theorized and systemic analysis of the political posters of the Lebanese civil war but also in undertaking the arduous task of tracking down, collecting, and digitally archiving hundreds of posters that may be used in future studies. Off the Wall is bound to engage students and scholars from various disciplines, including visual culture, anthropology, art history, graphic design, and political science, as well the general reader interested in learning about the dynamics of internecine conflicts, outside interventions, and the merging of ethics and aesthetics in wartime Lebanon.
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Nadine Sinno, H-Levant (H-Net)
Off the Wall is important for design historians because it is one of the very few texts to discuss design in the modern Middle and Near East.
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Victor Margolin, Journal of Design History; (2009) 22 (4); pp. 426-428.
There is more than art history in this collection.
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The Economist, January 10–16, 2009, p. 75.
Off The Wall Arabic edition
By Zeina Maasri

Translated by Imad Chiha

Revised by Pierre Abi Saab