Most helpful positive review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
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.