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My Favorite Syria Books

Joshua M. Landis "Joshua Landis"
The list author says: "These are some great classics and new issues on Syria"
Syria's Uprising and the Fracturing of the Levant (Adelphi series)
Syria's Uprising and the Fracturing of the Levant (Adelphi series)
"A Solid backgrounder and well written. Author believes the US could have helped to sort things out."
The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'th Party
The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'th Party
"Van Dam's book is one of the three most important on Asad's Syria. (Batatu and Seale are the others) It explains how sectarianism works in Syria with subtlety and wisdom. This updated edition has a new chapter and other updates."
Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East
Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East
"Seale's Asad remains the best and most readable overall book on modern Syrian history."
Demystifying Syria (SOAS Middle East Issues)
Demystifying Syria (SOAS Middle East Issues)
"A solid and up to date collection of articles. Be warned, I have one on the Syrian opposition in this collection."
Road to Damascus
Road to Damascus
"An excellent memoir by the American wife of Muhammad Imadi, long serving Minister of the Economy. She speaks candidly of the difficulties that other Western wives had in adjusting to Syria. Having converted to Islam, she discusses the issues facing women in the faith. The mother of three, she speaks candidly about attitudes on child rearing and education."
The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith
The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith
"Saldana has written a beautiful, funny, and learned memoir of her year in Damascus, falling in love, finding Jesus in Islam, teaching at a Koranic school for girls, and study Islam with one of Damascus' leading Shaykhas. Saldana is a major new voice. This is a total treat and magical."
Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics
Syria's Peasantry, the Descendants of Its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics
"After Seale, Batatu is a classic must read. It is full of fascinating detail about Alawites, Druze, and Syria's many rural communities. Batatu goes far beyond the usual story to explain the success (and failures) of Asad's rule."
The View From Damascus: State, Political Community and Foreign Relations in Twentieth-Century Syria
The View From Damascus: State, Political Community and Foreign Relations in Twentieth-Century Syria
"This new book by Itamar Rabinovich should be excellent. He was Israel's negotiator with Syria under Prime Minister Rabin and he is Israel's foremost scholar on Syria. Everything he writes is a must read for those interested in Syria."
Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire
Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire
"Leverett is an ex-NSC and CIA hand who argues persuasively for Engagement with Syria. A good short overview of recent political history."
Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)
Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)
"A good overview of this Syria's relationship with its irreplaceable ally."
Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution (Cambridge Middle East Studies)
Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution (Cambridge Middle East Studies)
Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo
Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo
"Fun encounter of a Princeton anthropologist with the shabab of Aleppo. Borneman spent a Fulbright year living in the old souq and had many interesting encounters with young men. Well written."
Steel & Silk: Men & Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000
Steel & Silk: Men & Women Who Shaped Syria 1900-2000
"Very Useful collection of biographies of Syria's leading statesmen of the 20th century. Moubayed is one of Syria's leading historians."
Syria: Ballots or Bullets? : Democracy, Islamism, and Secularism in the Levant
Syria: Ballots or Bullets? : Democracy, Islamism, and Secularism in the Levant
"Very useful and readable short history of the first years of Bashar al-Asad's presidency. Describes the Damascus Spring and its repression. Many revealing interviews with Syria's reformers and opposition."
Syria under Bashar al-Asad: Modernisation and the Limits of Change (Adelphi series)
Syria under Bashar al-Asad: Modernisation and the Limits of Change (Adelphi series)
"Perthes is one of the leading Syrianists, who now heads a major German think-tank."
Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East (Praeger Security International)
Syria, the United States, and the War on Terror in the Middle East (Praeger Security International)
"This is the most up to date book on Syrian-US relations. It takes the long view, reviewing the troubled relationship since 1945. Dispassionate and solid."
Levantine Arabic for Non-Natives: A Proficiency-Oriented Approach: Student Book (Yale Language Series)
Levantine Arabic for Non-Natives: A Proficiency-Oriented Approach: Student Book (Yale Language Series)
"Useful primer."
An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades
An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades
"Classic Syrian view of the Crusaders. Full of insight still relevant today."
The Asian Mystery Illustrated in the History, Religion, and Present State of the Ansaireeh or Nusairis of Syria
The Asian Mystery Illustrated in the History, Religion, and Present State of the Ansaireeh or Nusairis of Syria
"One of the great 19th c. works on Alawites. One of the starting points to understanding who rules Syria."
The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria
The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria
"A friendly and useful biography of Bashar al-Assad. Lesch interviewed Assad for many hours and has an important argument."
Colonial Citizens
Colonial Citizens
"Thomson's book is smart. It provides invaluable cultural detail about the rise of the Women's Movement, cinema, and many other interesting aspects of Syrian life during the Mandate and early years of Syrian nationhood."
Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class
Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class
"Excellent study of the emerging middle class and national identity in Syria after WW1. Aleppo takes pride of place. Using the religiously diverse city of Aleppo, Syria, as a point of departure, Watenpaugh explores the larger political and social implications of what being modern meant in the non-West in the first half of the twentieth century."
The Struggle for Syria: A study in Post-War Arab Politics, 1945-1958, New Edition
The Struggle for Syria: A study in Post-War Arab Politics, 1945-1958, New Edition
"Seale's other great classic on Syria. If you want to know about the rise of the Baath or why Parliamentary democracy failed in Syria, read this."
The Road from Damascus: A Journey Through Syria (Bridge Between the Cultures Series)
The Road from Damascus: A Journey Through Syria (Bridge Between the Cultures Series)
"Cune is entertaining and insightful."
The Brink of Peace
The Brink of Peace
"Israel's negotiator with Syria under Prime Minister Rabin and Israel's foremost scholar on Syria."