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Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Hardcover – March 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486495
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,060,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Veteran Middle East correspondent Amos examines a generally underreported consequence of the Iraq war: the exodus of several million Iraqis, predominantly Sunni Muslims, who have fled Iraq to escape civil strife and persecution at the hands of the newly dominant Shiite majority. Flooding into Little Baghdad communities in Damascus, Amman, and Beirut, the Iraqi exiles have strained Iraq’s relations with its neighbors and dramatically transformed the demographics of the entire region. Introducing us to several Iraqi exiles, among them a politically subversive actor who cannot go home, a young woman maimed because of her father’s work with the Americans, and a proud mother who has turned to the sex trade for survival, Amos emphasizes the human struggles and tragedies that have defined Sunni exile and the profound impact the exodus has had on the Sunni community. In doing so, she also probes the morass of conflicting Iraqi and U.S. policies that have caused or exacerbated the situation and reminds us that the success of a secular, modern Iraq depends upon the reversal of the exodus. --Brendan Driscoll

Review

George Packer, author of The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq and Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade
"Deborah Amos stuck around to trace the fallout from the Iraq War after most other journalists had moved on. And she already had decades of experience in the region under her belt. This commitment to the story has allowed her to see the war in its true historical context: as a Middle Eastern earthquake that will forever change the power equation between Sunnis and Shia, and as a vast human tragedy. These are not abstractions in ‘Eclipse of the Sunnis’: Amos’ intelligence and heart as a reporter make the fate of Iraq’s millions of refugees unforgettably intimate.”

Bob Carey, vice president of Resettlement and Migration Policy at the International Rescue Committee; chair of Refugee Council USA
“A compelling book. Deborah Amos documents the collapse of a rich culture and society and violence behind the creation of a global diaspora. Amos movingly details the human toll of the war. She gives a face and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are the forgotten collateral damage of the conflict.”

Bill Moyers
“Memo to President Obama: Take this book with you to Camp David for the weekend. Then insist your foreign policy and national security teams read it, and schedule a time to test them orally on their retention. The reporting here contains the seeds of our future in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Publishers Weekly
“Millions of Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, [have] fled the country, creating a refugee crisis that has only recently been acknowledged as such by the U.S. government…. Amos deftly examines the political and cultural consequences of the marginalization of the Sunnis while focusing on individual Iraqis who have fled to such countries as Syria and Lebanon in the wake of a new sectarian and tribal-based order in Iraq…. Amos’s breathtaking work implicates not only shortsighted American policy but the age-old schism between Sunni and Shia and the cagey maneuverings of such meddling neighbors as Syria. The weight and complexity of the Iraqi problem is on full display, with shreds of hope pushing through the layers like scrub in the desert.”

Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer
“A fascinating new book.”

Washington Post
“Poignant… Powerful…. Amos is a skillful writer and a perceptive analyst…. Eclipse of the Sunnis is persuasive and very well written.”

Brian Till, Atlantic.com
“Deb Amos, it turns out, is as eloquent on the page as she is on the airwaves as a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio. More than a poetic read, though, (Eclipse) is an innately human story about the toll of the war; it should be required reading for all of those weighing bombing campaigns and land assaults, and, indeed, for those pontificating in favor of them from Washington think tanks or London editorial rooms.”

More About the Author

Please see my full biography at www.deborahamos.net

Deborah Amos's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. For a decade she reported for television news, including ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight and the PBS programs NOW with Bill Moyers and Frontline. Amos has won many awards, including the Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting in 2009. She spent 1991-1992 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dan Rebnord on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Too often in today's media, we hear of "sectarian conflict" in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and many other Middle Eastern countries. Nevertheless, we fail to understand what these conflicts consist of, or why they exist in the first place. In this well researched and written account, Deborah Amos takes us inside the ethnic conflict of Sunni and Shi'a Muslims in Iraq, and educates us about their struggles of resettlement and exile. The depth of Amos' reporting is exceptional, as she was fortunate enough to develop intimate relationships with many Iraqi refugees. This is a worthwhile read for anyone who wants to understand the ethnic conflicts of post-war Iraq.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By PeeCBee on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; I wanted an objective, non-political description of what has happened to the Iragi people since the start of the War In Iraq. Ms. Amos covers the plight of Christians, Sunni, Shiite, Baath and other relgiions in Iraq, with details that made me occasionaly put down the book and shake my head. She spends time describing Jordan, Syria, Beirut, Israel, and Iran as well as Iraq. It is clear she knows the region, and contected with people of all types in order to document the incredible stories in the book. There is a tendancy in her writing to counter-point U.S. international policy and military actions with our stated goals but without an overly political lean. After reading this book, I am spurred to read more about the religious and political history of the region. Well done. Touching. A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cnwmsp on October 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After hearing the author of this book share on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, I was excited to read about the real lives of refugees, particularly women, who had fled the war and ended up in shacks, tent cities, and brothels. Turns out the majority of the book focuses on the Bush administration and the war itself, not quite the human interest story as portrayed by the segment on NPR. I was disappointed to say the least. It is well written and informative if you care about the politics behind the writing, however, if you crave a dive into the lives of the people, you'll only find vague shadowy references and one story to connect with. Too bad this isnt like iTunes and you can buy just the track (chapter) you want.
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By Mary James on July 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
good insight. eye opener
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By beeswax on June 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
As I volunteer with Iraqui families through Catholic Charities Refugee Relief in New Mexico, I found the book vital to my work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It took me a couple of chapters to get my mind wrapped around this book since I don’t have a quick recall of the order of events as they unfolded during and after the war with Iraq. Once I got my stride I found this to be quite interesting. I had no idea the degree of the exodus of Iraqi’s, primarily Sunni and Christian, that came as a result of the sectarian fighting that came as a result of the displacement of Saddam and his regime. It made me realize the domino effects that can occur and cause so many impacts to displaced people who become struggling refugees, surrounding countries struggling under the weight of giving them shelter, the gaping hole left in the country they leave, etc. It gave me quite a lot to think about.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting review of the shiite ascendency underway in the middle east. The book is somewhat dated since it was published before the start of the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war. However, to the studious observer this book may yet serve a purpose by showing how decisive sectarianism was in the middle east shortly before the start of the Arab Spring.
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