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The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East Hardcover – March 27, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

A Foreign Policy "Book to Read in 2012"

Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World"A wonderfully thoughtful book that captures a truly historic juncture in the Arab world. By chronicling the first volatile year of the Arab uprisings, Lynch has provided the essential guide to understanding what happens next - both for the participants living through it and for the anxious outside world surprised by the passions unleashed."
Colin Kahl, Associate Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
"The extraordinary events associated with the Arab Spring have produced a chaotic mix of transitioning democracies, reactionary autocracies, and civil strife. But, as Marc Lynch explains in his brilliant new book, The Arab Uprising, regardless of the fate of individual rulers or the course of particular movements, the nature of politics in the Arab world has been forever transformed. A new generation has leveraged 21st-century technologies and tapped into a sense of interconnectedness and common identity to obliterate the old order. Nobody is better suited to navigate the reader through these turbulent waters than Lynch, one of the world's top Middle East scholars and a pioneer in the study of new media and social activism in the Arab world. Lynch has produced the most comprehensive and balanced account yet written of the origins and implications of the changes currently sweeping this vital region. The Arab Uprising promises to remain essential reading on the subject for years to come." Anne-Marie Slaughter“If you read only one book about the uprisings sweeping the Arab world, it should be this one. Marc Lynch coined the term “the Arab public sphere” a decade before anyone in the West knew it existed and has been an active observer of and participant in it ever since. He chronicles decades of Arab protests, pan-Arabism, and Arab government repression to provide vital context for present events and draws on his deep country-by-country expertise to map future challenges for American foreign policy across the Arab world.” Kirkus"[Lynch] who has been following recent events closely...reexamines important precedents in mass uprisings that took place in convulsive waves during the Arab Cold War of the 1950s, and were brutally suppressed....[he] also examines the key role initially played by the Al-Jazeera network in coverage of the Tunisia uprising, keenly watched by the Egyptians in convincing them their own efforts could be successful....A timely survey of complex historical and current events."

Publishers Weekly
“A nuanced, insightful analysis of the Arab insurrections, with ample historical context…. In this thought-provoking book, Lynch earns his right to implore U.S. citizens to trust Middle Eastern countries to reshape their political space.”

Booklist
“Lynch, a political scientist and advisor to the Obama administration, analyzes the recent and ongoing political changes taking place in the Middle East and ventures some predictions about what may come….Timely, informative, and recommended for current events and regional history collections.”

Al-Ghad (Jordan)“One of the most profound books about the nature of the transformations under way, of the consciousness of the public squares and the new popular anger in today's Arab world.”

The Economist
“Of all the books on the extraordinary events of the past 15 months, this is one of the most illuminating and, for policymakers, the most challenging.”

Foreign Affairs
“informed and engaging”

Washington Monthly“Lynch has written a clear-eyed, highly readable guide to the forces in the region that gave rise to the Arab uprisings and the very real challenges they present for the U.S. Indispensably, he presents the material in a way that is neither excessively romantic about democracy’s chances nor excessively fearful about the greater role Islamists will no doubt play in a newly empowered Arab public square.”   Madawi al-Rasheed, Middle Eastern Studies
“The Arab Uprising is a joy to read. It should appeal to a non-specialist audience looking for a nuanced and short but engaging narrative of the ongoing Arab revolts without descending into obscure academic jargon. This is definitely not a book written for those seeking a serious analysis of individual uprisings, or theoretical academic accounts on the underlying causes of revolutions. It will be several years before such sophisticated monographs will emerge. For scope and depth, as well as the empathy he imbues in the book, Lynch remains within the unusual bracket of scholars who possess a genuine concern, not only for his own state’s national interest, but also for those who have been sacrificed for it."
Middle East JournalThe Arab Uprising is a superb book. If you are able to read only one account of the Arab spring, this should be it.”

The Nation“It is this shortage of well-informed writing based on a grasp of the recent history of the Arab world that gives such great value to The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East, by Marc Lynch, an associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy. Published earlier this year, The Arab Uprising is much the best book on the origins and course of the protests and uprisings up to the end of 2011. It is a measure of Lynch’s perception and knowledge that nothing important has happened in Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Tunisia since he finished his book that could show his judgment of developments in these countries to be at fault."

AMERICA Magazine“Marc Lynch, a professor of political science at George Washington University, has written one of the best books to date on the popular revolts that have swept the Arab world over the past two years. The Arab Uprising is a very readable overview of these remarkable events, suitable both for those with background in Middle Eastern politics as well as those less familiar with the region.

CHOICE“Lynch…offers an incisive policy analysis, based partly on his access to the Obama administration. A well-known blogger and author of the well-regarded Voices of the New Arab Public… Lynch is an excellent guide to the most important development in the 21st-century Middle East: the Arab Spring of 2011.”

About the Author

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and edits the Middle East Channel for ForeignPolicy.com. His most recent book, Voices of the New Arab Public, was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610390849
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610390842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alexa Hoyne on July 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
This was immensely disappointing. The writing jumped all over the place, made a number of lofty claims with little analysis or evidence to back it up, and would be a poor text for anyone without a decent understanding of the Arab Spring, as is. Lynch was rather arrogant throughout the book and hard to follow. The last chapter, while drastically better than the rest of the book, failed to truly bring home its main point. Lynch does a great job of criticizing current policy models - i.e. realism and neoconservative models don't apply - but fails to actually suggest alternatives. Very poorly done, especially considering Lynch's reputation and intellect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Evelina on March 4, 2015
Format: Paperback
He lays his politics out (left wing), he does not demonize anyone, and he tells the truth about what happened during the Arab Spring. So even though I disagree his stance on Israel, I can read him without feeling he lets his bias lead him into falsehoods. As the author relates, the Arab spring fell apart because it could not agree on what to do next. The revolutionaries including the Islamist groups fought among themselves so much that they could not cooperate. There are identity divisions in the Arab world (and this is not counting christians, non arabs, such as blacks, and other oppressed minorities). The author notes that past popular democratic movements all came to the same ends, anarchy followed by urgent calls for stability and order so that ordinary life could continue, leading to more authoritarianism. For instance, Mubarak liberalized the political realm in Egypt in the 1980s, which resulted in movements to overthrow the government, which led to Mubarak cracking down. More lately, people supported the movement that brought down Mubarak but then got fed up with unending upheaval. As the author writes, neighborhoods and villages were happy when the army moved in to stop the demonstrations and rallies.

Since this book, things have changed in Egypt. A military leader has been elected president. The people did not want disorder and apparently they did not want an Islamic government that would impose strict religiosity on them. (That does not mean that they want western style liberalism). The author praises President Obama for how he dealt with Egypt, yet now many there hate him for supporting an Islamist government.

The author is very unfair to President Bush and implies he should have done something to make things good in Iraq. Like what?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Spence on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marc Lynch does a fine job in The Arab Uprising providing much needed clarity and context to events that have largely taken the world by surprise. His expertise and behind the scenes insights are evident throughout and will serve those who wish to better understand what has happened and what may yet happen in Middle East politics, as well as the implications for United States foreign policy in the region.

I do feel though that this was a book published too quickly. It would have benefited from the author permitting more time for the events to play out and for his own thoughts to form. Too often, the book is descriptive and repetitive.

There's a need for informed about analysis of the events of the Arab Spring and The Arab Uprising serves the purpose for now. However as further volumes come out benefiting from waiting for events to settle down and for their authors to more fully develop their work, I think the importance of this book will quickly decline. Until then, it's a valuable work and an ideal primer for those wishing to make sense of a fundamental shift in the Middle East
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oz DiGennaro on November 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An expert tells his detailed story about the Arab Uprising of 2011 and afterwards. It includes history.
Not really impartial, but his point of view is clear and reliable.
Blind spot: Israel and the Palestinan negotiations.

All Americans must know more about the Middle East and what Arabs think and do.
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By Aaron Butts on December 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I HATE non-fiction and had to read this for a class on the modern ME, but ended up not being able to put it down. Lynch blows your mind through his very close relationship with some key players in the movement. He also has a level of insight that goes far beyond the mainstream media's focus on the use of social media and it's importance in the movement. Lynch describes the power of Al-Jazeera, and perfectly lays out the series of events that led up to this regional uprising which has shaken up the Arab world and led to numerous regime changes.

I had to write a 15-page paper on this book, and I thought that was a lot before reading it. After I finished the book I found myself unable to fit all of the useful and essential information into a simple 15 pages. Nearly every page of the book was underlined and the insights that Lynch provided were both eloquent and intelligent. For a few months after I read this book, whenever someone mentioned the Arab Spring in passing I made sure to recommend this book to them as I think it's impossible to gain a fuller understanding of the movement without it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Shinno on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very thorough and interesting analysis of the Arab Uprising. I learned the differences between the preceding governance in each country involved as it affected the outcome differently. It was fascinating to learn of all the variables in dealing with an authoritarian regime.
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