"Brooke Allen's The Other Side of the Mirror is a hugely welcome piece of travel literature… Anyone with a curiosity about this fascinating nation will be well served; anyone with a desire to see Syria for themselves will be inspired." —Tom Bissell
Brooke Allen first traveled to Syria in 2009, expecting it to be much as American news media routinely depicted it—an ultra-conservative Muslim society, a rogue nation committed to an anti-American stance. She found, instead, a welcoming and captivating country where she and her family were treated with courtesy and gentleness.
She soon returned for a more leisurely trip through Syria's rich historical and archaeological treasures: the ancient cities of Aleppo and Damascus, the great Crusader castles, the Bronze Age ruins of Ebla and Mari, the Greco-Roman cities of Palmyra and Apamea. With her keen and appreciative eye (and ear) Allen introduces us to Syria's people, culture, and history. The Other Side of the Mirror illustrates one traveler's enlightenment, while reflecting on our American ways. For, as she writes, "To visit Syria is to confront the unhappy truth about our media, which is that much of the international news we read or see… serves not as a window looking out at the world but as a mirror: a mirror that reflects our own fears and obsessions and shines them right back at us."
"...a nuanced appreciation of the sights, sounds, and historical densities that make Syria one of the most rewarding countries on Earth. Like the great cities of Damascus and Aleppo, The Other Side of the Mirror is a thing of layered beauty and a source of endless surprise and stimulation." —Ben Downing
Brooke Allen's critical writings appear frequently in the New York Times Book Review, the Atlantic, and the Nation.