This article reviews the contribution of two recent biographies about Rafiq Hariri: Citizen Hariri: Lebanon's Neoliberal Reconstruction, by Hannes Baumann and Architecture, Power and Religion in Lebanon: Rafiq Hariri and the Politics of Sacred Space in Beirut by Ward Vloeberghs. Baumann follows a “sociological” approach that uses the biography of an individual to explore the wider process of neoliberalism coming to Lebanon. Hariri looked over Lebanon's transition into a neoliberal economy, during a period that witnessed a Saudi–Syrian entente over the management of the affairs of Lebanon. Vloeberghs follows a multidisciplinary approach that combines insights from various social sciences in order to address the political dimensions of religious architecture and the politics of sacred space in general. Hariri is a controversial figure from recent Lebanese history. His political career is broken down into two periods in both books: prior to 1990, when he was a Saudi emissary and a powerbroker among the various parties during the Lebanon war; and as a statesman in the 1990s, when he climbed to center-stage of Lebanese power. He then started on a downward trend after 2000, and his assassination on February 14, 2005, almost tipped the country into civil strife.

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