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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2012
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have class next semester and I bought this book earlier because I'm an international student and it comes audio with it and that will help me to improve my english language.
for those how native speaker I recommend them to read about Arabia revolution from many books in order to get clear information. I think this book mention writer's thought as well.
- if you interest to have this book please compare it with real live in Arab countries.
- the audio save your time if you interest only to listen.
- If you have a kindle device. please pay the E-book first then the audio because it comes cheaper after you buy e-book.
- if your first language not enough I give you a high recommend to pay it with audio to improve your language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2014
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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
on December 14, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is a great book for readers who want a better understanding of an increasingly important part of the world. It is an.easy read, well organized, and informative. I highly recommend it and plan to read it again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 29, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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on July 22, 2013
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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.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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 the subjects complexity? If so than this is definitely the book for you! With sections titled "Ten Greatest Myths about the Egyptian Uprising" Gelvin cleverly breaks down the fundamental aspects of the uprisings into digestible bites that can be understood by most who have but a minimal understanding of the region. While you will not be expert enough to bring peace to the Middle East, you will be left with a birds eye view of the many issues affecting these regional players. The format allows for short bursts of information that are well segmented allowing the reader (myself) to not become overwhelmed by information overload; furthermore the almost casual nature allows for good flow and smooth transition between topics. Inevitably it would be difficult to write a book about events that are currently being reported on in the media almost daily, but Gelvin masterfully accomplishes this feat. If you are curious, but unfamiliar with this topic, then get this book! If you are familiar with the politics of the region, but are looking for a light read to gain further insight, then I highly recommend this read! Well written and executed with the precision of a surgeon. A must read!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This was a very valuable history book. This helped me with what I read and hear about this area of the world.
James L. Gelvin is truly a brilliant professor in the history department at UCLA.
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