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on May 4, 2011
I bought this piece expecting I would read it later--maybe tonight, maybe over a couple of evenings before bed--yet an hour has gone by and not only have I already plowed through it, I've also found myself rereading entire sections.

Wolman gives us a backstage tour of a revolution years in the making. The details are so specific, so well-researched, so vibrant, that I occasionally forgot that I was reading nonfiction. If you followed the events in Egypt as they unfolded, and even (especially?) if you didn't, I highly recommend this fascinating piece.
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on May 4, 2011
A postively fascinating read! "The Instigators" delivers compelling and detailed insight into the April 6th Youth activist group and its founder, Ahmed Maher. The article provides both a thorough history of the evolution of this innovative movement as well as showcases the ways in which it served as a catalyst to the recent revolution in Egypt. In addition to recounting the captivating facts leading up to the ousting of President Mubarak, Mr. Wolman acquaints the reader with Ahmed Maher on a personal level, as both an affable and inspiring example of leadership within the Facebook generation.
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on May 4, 2011
I remember reading Wolman's story in Wired a number of years ago about these no-account revolutionaries in Egypt. They tried to fly a kite as a protest but they couldn't even get it in the air before Mubarak's thugs beat them. I remember thinking, "Nothing will ever change." Well, I was wrong and Wolman was right to bring these students to our attention. Those same kids who couldn't even manage to fly a kite have just re-written the rules of revolution. This in-depth look at how they did it is fascinating and important. But it's also thrilling to feel like you are right there with them as they overthrow a government.
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on May 7, 2011
The problem with writing a review a few days after you read a book is that it's difficult to remember what you wanted to say. The Instigators is yet another home run from The Atavist (how do they do it?) and, in true Kindle Singles fashion, I read it in one sitting. Obviously many of us knew what was happening in Egypt as it was happening, but getting such an in-depth backstory, with almost-real-time commentary made me feel like I was in the thick of it.
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on May 4, 2011
Talk about being in the right place at the right time: David Wolman's 2008 trip to Egypt to report on young Egyptians using Facebook to organize against the repressive regime put him in the perfect place to trace the roots of this year's historic events in the Middle East.

In "The Instigators," Wolman tells the story of the April 6 Youth, a brave group of technologically savvy activists who sensed the Internet's potential as a tool for organizing and, perhaps, affecting some sort of change in their country's authoritarian political system.

And now look where we are. For this longer piece, Wolman returned to Egypt to reconnect with his local sources, who are now fielding calls from world leaders instead of running from security police. It's a riveting story of bravery, serendipity and hope whose ending is still far from certain. Definitely recommended.
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on May 4, 2011
Clear, concise narrative of events leading up to the revolution in Egypt. Wolman's unique access to one of the real architects of this historic event is unmatched in American journalism. Want to know what happened in Egypt? Read this!
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on May 12, 2011
On February 11, 2011 after nearly 30 years as the President of Egypt and also after 18 days of demonstrations against his regime, President Mubarek resigned. What few people realized at the time was that the flames of revolution had been fanned since 2004 if not earlier by people like Ahmed Maher and Wael Ghonin. This fascinating Kindle Single tells the story of the conception, birth and execution of a revolution.

What is interesting in this short read is understanding the key role social media, social networking, bloggers, microbloggers and the virtual world played through the use of digital tools like Facebook, blogs, e-mail, Yahoo chat, Twitter, Google Earth, online groups/forums, Google Docs, Gmail, etc. in conceiving a revolution. And even in the midst of that virtual world, a war was being waged between those leading the revolution and the Egyptian security officers intent on infiltrating and derailing it.

However it wasn't until the online organization bridged over into effective street organization as well that a revolution was born. The martyrdom of over 800 men and woman, the arrests, the beatings and Egypt's last ditch effort to strangle the revolution by cutting off Internet access and cellular service - all only served to strengthen the revolution and finally bring about the resignation of President Mubarek.

`The Instigators' shares an interesting story of the revolution in Egypt. But it also reveals to us all how real change is being orchestrated throughout the world today and will be orchestrated in the years to come with the help of social media and social networking tools.

Highly recommend this quick read.
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on May 7, 2011
For any citizen who wishes to probe behind the scenes of the recent revolution in Egypt, this is the place to start reading. Wolman's on-the-scene reporting puts the reader right there in a clear and vivid way.

I started reading late one evening, intending to get just the flavor of the piece, and couldn't put it down till the end. The world needs much more of this kind of intelligent, responsible journalism.
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A Kindle Single is a short work that can usually be read in an hour or less and is usually sold by Amazon for no more than $1.99. This piece is right up to the minute with an inside look at the recent Egyptian riots in April. It is fascinating reading, especially the facts about the role of social media to organize and electrify the happenings as well as a compelling portrait of the group's founder, Ahmed Maher. There is a lot to learn about this event and this excellent summary kept me right up to date with the most recent headlines.
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on May 28, 2011
I had watched the events in Egypt unfold on my TV screen, but this personal and focused look at the planning and scheming behind those events was absolutely fascinating. I found the piece both informative and a real page-turner. Clearly written and very specific in its details, it is an intriguing view into revolution 2.0.
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