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Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation Hardcover – January 3, 2012


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Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation + Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad + The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising (Comparative Politics and International Studies)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781250006691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250006691
  • ASIN: 1250006694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A thrilling account of Egypt’s revolution. . . .  What’s remarkable about Liberation Square is how good it is, how well written, how perfectly calibrated in its amounts of background, commentary and prognostication—and above all how thrilling it is to read.” —Salon

“Egyptian journalist Ashraf Khalil confounds expectations with an insightful account that feels rich…. It is difficult to imagine a better guide to the Egyptian portion of the so-called Arab Spring than Khalil’s book Liberation Square…. [Khalil] offers plenty of wisdom, along with action-packed reportage, along the way.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Compelling, nuanced, and engaging. . . . Blends astute observations with reportage of the demonstrations as they unfolded. . . . Khalil’s account is essential reading, evoking the urgency and vitality of the Arab spring’s Egyptian chapter.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Khalil’s illuminating reporting situates the revolt in the stultifying decades that preceded it…He does an admirable job pulling together the threads of the early dissident and activist efforts rooted in the late 1990s.” —The Daily Beast

“A personal account that will be appreciated by those looking to move beyond the day's headlines, from one who wrote some of the stories published under those headlines.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

ASHRAF KHALIL has covered the Middle East for the The Times (London), The Economist, Foreign Policy, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Middle East edition of Rolling Stone. He worked as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in the Baghdad and Jerusalem bureaus and has been based in Cairo for most of the last fifteen years.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Likewise, I very much appreciated the style of the book.
Caroline C
It is an open question how much the country will really change and whether or not things will actually get better for the majority of people.
Neodoering
The writing style is easy-going and personal, while maintaining objective accounts of the events of the revolution.
Gus Gleiter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ashraf Khalil's "Liberation Square" is a smart and lucid view of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Khalil is an Egyptian journalist who has worked for the LA Times. He has the benefit of understanding the politics and personalities of Egypt, while being able to communicate effectively to an American audience. The story takes a few chapters to take off, but include the highlights and prime movers of the revolution and its immediate aftermath. He sets the stage of an Egypt in which corruption is endemic, and well-educated men have little chance of getting a job, and hence getting married. Khalil see the hopelessness of young men about having sex as a primary factor in the rage of the protesters. He discusses the tireless work of long-suffering political activists, who laid the groundwork over years, finally bearing fruit in January 2011. He tells of Khaled Saieed, the unlikely martyr, beaten and killed by Egyptian Security forces, whose ordinary looks and middle-class aspirations allowed so many Egyptians to identify with the protesters. He describes the effect of YouTube videos by Asmaa Mahfouz, a young female activist whose stirring words dared her male counterparts to come to the protests.

Khalil is frank. He is clear the Tahrir Square would not have been possible with the prior example of the Tunisia uprising. He highlights the widespread non-violent protests while acknowledging the role of violent and rageful rock-throwers. He speaks of the Mohammed ElBaradei's irrelevance to the revolution. He speaks of Muslim Brotherhood, an organization once banned from a role in Egyptian politics, its initial lack participation in the revolution and its eventual rise in prominence. Khalil speaks of the regime's use of the Brotherhood as a bogeyman to frighten moderates.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JMiner on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am not the most political person in the world. Still, I've watched the Arab Spring on the news, and read about it online, and in newspapers. Stories change, though. Details are missed or buried. Certain aspects like the impact of digital technology are so trendy that they overwhelm the flow of what actually happened. History is subsumed in current events. I never quite got the full story on Egypt.

Now here we are, one year later, and there's already an incredible book on the subject.

Liberation Square is, for someone like me, a damn near perfect way to better understand what happened Egypt. The book is a seasoned journalist taking the reader through Mubarak's rise to power and the details of his reign and then into the revolution itself. I'd say about half the book is devoted to the causes and history of dissent and half to last year's events proper.

There's a little bit of history, following Egypt from Nasser to Sadat to Mubarak, and the unrest in surrounding areas. There are eyewitness accounts, some from the author himself. But Khalil also catalogues the jokes that Egyptian citizens told about their leaders and their situation, and he traces how those changed just as artfully and clearly as he traces the literal facts of succession. The best part of all is that nothing is ever boring. Ashraf Khalil is someone who (luckily for us) is both perfectly informed and deeply passionate about what he is writing.

I almost wish that the author had gone further with his timeline, to examine Egypt and its possible future. But I suppose that that story isn't over yet. Somehow I doubt that any speculation could be as interesting as everything that has actually happened, and everything that will. For someone wishing to understand the fall of Mubarak and the events of Tahrir Square, I haven't found better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bray on May 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author lays a clear and comprehensive outline of Mubarak's rise to power and describes the make-up and effects of the regime on Egyptian life. The sense of hopelessness and despair the author portrays is consistent with my own feelings and observations from living in Cairo for over three years. This book is thoroughly documents and gives voice to people of all stations in Egypt, while also being highly readable and informative to a non-Egyptian readership that is interested in what happened during this tumultuous times. This level of objectivity and investigation is what all journalists should strive for.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By iandanielbrown on April 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is extremely readable and absolutely sucked me in! It draws on a wide variety of experiences of those who both led and participated in the 2011 revolution, and does a wonderful job of mixing them together in such a way that provides for a great narrative and includes a good deal of history and cultural context along the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kawkaw on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to people who are living outside of egypt. Personally being Egyptian but emigrated when I was young. I really love this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gus Gleiter on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a Western journalism student on my way to Cairo to study for the year, I was very excited to pick up this account of the revolution by such a respected journalist.

Khalil's book provides an in depth, insightful and holistic account of the revolution that one would otherwise not have if the only information available was from media coverage during the revolution.

His book maintained a journalistic standard to which I personally aspire. He undertook no small feat in writing a book about such a logistically complex event while explaining the country's modern history and its effect on the social, cultural and economic situation on the days before the revolution.

The book's clarity and comprehension allowed for someone like me, who had relatively little knowledge about Egypt's modern history, cultural climate or anything beyond the factual events of the revolution, to both understand and enjoy the book.

The cultural tidbits weaved in to the story were also very helpful in pointing me to other movies and books that would be helpful to understand pre-revolutionary Egypt. His book was an excellent starting point for my pre-departure research into life in Egypt by pointing to other books and films that were important to understanding the socio-cultural scene in Egypt.

Khalil's account came to life for me. When I first went to Tahrir, I was still able to visualize the events described in his book. The serious subject matter is often infused with wit and insightful commentary of one who has much experience working in Egypt. The writing style is easy-going and personal, while maintaining objective accounts of the events of the revolution. It is a necessary read for any person who aims to gain a better understanding of the revolution. Whether you plan on visiting Egypt in the near future or not - I highly recommend this book!
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