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The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know [Kindle Edition]

James L. Gelvin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Beginning in December 2010 popular revolt swept through the Middle East, shocking the world and ushering in a period of unprecedented unrest. Protestors took to the streets to demand greater freedom, democracy, human rights, social justice, and regime change. What caused these uprisings? What is their significance? And what are their likely consequences?
In an engaging question-and-answer format, The Arab Uprisings explores all aspects of the revolutionary protests that have rocked the Middle East. Historian James Gelvin begins with an overview--What sparked the Arab uprisings? Where did the demands for democracy and human rights come from? How appropriate is the phrase "Arab Spring"?--before turning to specific countries around the region. He looks at such topics as the role of youth, labor, and religious groups in Tunisia and Egypt and discusses why the military turned against rulers in both countries. Exploring the uprisings in Libya and Yemen, Gelvin explains why these two states are considered "weak," why that status is important for understanding the upheavals there, and why outside powers intervened in Libya but not in Yemen. Next, Gelvin compares two cases that defied expectations: Algeria, which experts assumed would experience a major upheaval after Egypt's, and Syria, which experts failed to foresee. He then looks at the monarchies of Morocco, Jordan, and the Gulf, exploring the commonalities and differences of protest movements in each. The final chapter discusses the implications of the uprisings. What do they mean for the United States? For Iran? Has al-Qaeda been strengthened or weakened? What effects have the uprisings had on the Israel-Palestine conflict? What conclusions might we draw from the uprisings so far?
For anyone wishing to understand the dramatic events in the Middle East, The Arab Uprisings is the place to turn.

Editorial Reviews


"A remarkably readable, informative, slim volume...Of particular worth is James Gelvin's ability to show how the protests are interlinked, yet also independent of each other. Brief forays into the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the current state of al-Qaeda are also excellent primer for the general reader." --Publishers Weekly

"This impressive achievement brings together a vast amount of information in a lucid manner. Highly recommended." --Library Journal

"A solid primer on the Arab Spring...[Gelvin's] background on the Arab world will certainly help non-experts better understand the region...A useful attempt to understand a still-unfolding story." --Kirkus Reviews

"Highly recommended...Gelvin's claim to provide "what everyone needs to know" does not unduly exaggerate the usefulness of the book for students and other nonspecialists. Even specialists in contemporary Arab affairs will benefit in some ways, notably by using it as a model in their own teaching and general writings." --CHOICE

"James Gelvin has throughout his career explained to us the role of popular demonstrations and symbolic action in the modern Middle East. There could be few more expert guides for the public to the remarkable Arab uprisings of 2011. Gelvin avoids easy answers for the hard one, and never prefers simple theory to complex realities." --Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan

About the Author

James L. Gelvin is Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Modern Middle East: A History and The Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War.

Product Details

  • File Size: 341 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 019989177X
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (February 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0077R8S08
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,901 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner! February 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
James Gelvin's "Arab Uprisings" is a must read if you've been trying to follow the events unfolding in the Middle East. I have tried to keep up with the "where" and "why of each rebellion and/or revolution, but the sheer numbers often made it confusing that often left me with more questions than answers. Gelvin's book was what I was looking for. It sheds light on the historical, political, and cultural aspects that each country has undergone by linking the various uprisings in the differing states (such as Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Yemen, Algeria and Syria, and the monarchies). The book is clearly written, and the Q &A format makes for an easy but substantive read. Each answer reads like a mini-essay, and I particularly enjoyed the answers to "Where did the phrase `Arab Spring' come from?", "How appropriate is it to describe events in the Arab world?", "What are the ten biggest myths about the Egyptian uprising?", and "Was Qaddafi crazy or crazy like a fox?" The author obviously knows his history as well as the contemporary issues confronting the region. (His "Modern Middle East" and "Israel/Palestine Conflict" are also must reads.) The last section of "Arab Uprisings" is illuminating in showing the impact of the uprisings on both the American and Iranian positions in the region, on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, and on al-Qaeda. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Gelvin fulfills his promise with the book's sub-title, "What Everyone Needs to Know," because I walked away having a greater understanding of what's going on in the Middle East. I now can watch the continuing unfolding of events with both the information and confidence that the author has provided.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book! January 11, 2014
By Jen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was obviously written very soon after these events occurred, so it is interesting to look at the events that occurred and what the contributing factors were. This book gives a much fuller explanation of the uprisings and why and how they escalated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Arab Spring" September 26, 2013
By Olga
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an exceptionally well-written and informative book. Dr. Gelvin uses a question and answer format to look at the "Arab Spring" -- causes and effects -- the uprisings, as well as the monarchies (no change in governance). He concludes with the implications (so far) in the Middle East. I learned a LOT!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book February 14, 2012
By Cat
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off, I feel I have to disclose that Gelvin is actually my professor. Normally, I'd be concerned about creating a biased review but the book is so well-written that the fact that I am in his lecture periods has little bearing. The book is written in question-answer form allowing for clear, straight to the point answers. Gelvin avoids "fluff" and answers the questions in the same conversational manner he uses during lecture that engages his students (and the reader). I found the book easy to get through while providing the information expected of it. It truly is a great read; it is simple to understand but not lacking in necessary information.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
_The Arab Uprisings: what everyone needs to know_ is a must-read for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of the "Arab Spring" of 2011. Written in a question-and-answer format, Galvin clearly explains the causes of the revolutions that swept the Arab world, drawing parallels between nations and clarifying the complex interplay of economics, demographics and politics in the political change that is still unfolding.

The book begins with a brief primer on the Arab world - the cultural similarities and the broad economic and political climate of the region before the uprisings began. Galvin then argues that the revolutions were the result of four factors: economic promises made by the regimes to their people that fell apart, a "youth bulge", food crises and political brittleness of their autocracies. While there are some variations, these four themes are revisted as the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya and Syria are explored in detail.

The final chapter, in which Galvin fields questions about the "long view" of the Arab Spring is a bit odd, the questions more along the lines of political science than history. To his credit, Galvin reminds readers that these events are still unfolding, writing, "The moral of the story (of the uprisings) is that historical analogies do not explain and do not instruct, although for historians and history geeks their entertainment value cannot be overestimated." Similar questions about the role and impact of American foreign policy in fomenting the Arab Spring and what the implications of the uprisings are for the United States are similarly swatted away, and rightfully so, I think.

While events are still being played out regarding the effects of the spring of 2011, this is an outstanding primer on the subject - rich in detail and clearly and simply written. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the region or recent events there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Arab Uprisings January 27, 2014
This is a good book about the the Arab Uprisings, reporting on Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. The monarchies of Saudia Arabia, the Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan, and Morocco are also discussed. How these uprisings have affected Al-Qaeda are interesting as well. Even if you are not into Middle East current events, this will help you understand why the people in these countries took to the streets, protesting their governments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Americanism Posing as Scholarship
The author of this blatantly biased book misses no opportunity to blame America for the problems of the Middle East. A pattern of authoritarian regimes? America's fault. Read more
Published 4 months ago by RavenStar
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
it is boring, way too detailed. if i didn't need it for class, i wouldn't have bought it. No go.
Published 6 months ago by Eugene Lam
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little book
This book was nice and informative, however it repeated itself a lot. Still probably one of the best sources to follow up with the Arab uprisings in the Middle East.
Published 9 months ago by Jonathan Charnes
5.0 out of 5 stars The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Need to Know
This was a very valuable history book. This helped me with what I read and hear about this area of the world.
James L. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Joan Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Gelvin's The Arab Uprisings
I have repeatedly recommended this book ever since I bought it and read it a year ago because of Gelvin's extensive knowledge and unaderstanding of Middle Eastern history and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Arthur Goldschmidt
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
It is well written and nicely separated by questions like: what is the Arab World? What are the similarities of Egypt and Tunisia?
Published 11 months ago by BertusMaximus
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward
This is an excellent book for those who are looking to understand the recent Arab Uprisings from why they are occurring, to where Gelvin thinks these states will end up. Read more
Published 15 months ago by gladystardust
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect book for the subject
This book is a must for anyone interested in this part of the world: It is clear, concise and the perfect complement to Professor Gelvin class at UCLA.
Published 16 months ago by Helene Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Feeling more intelligent already!!!
Getting confused when watching the news? Want to feel smart at your next dinner party or gathering? Curious about the events going on in the Middle East, but feel intimidated by... Read more
Published on March 14, 2012 by S. Cutting
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