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Generation Freedom: The Middle East Uprisings and the Remaking of the Modern World Paperback – June 28, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Timely and provocative, Generation Freedom looks at the historic youth uprisings sweeping the Middle East and what they mean for the future of peace, coexistence, and relations with the West.

At a time when the world is asking how the Arab Spring and the death of Osama bin Laden will reshape our times, Bruce Feiler, bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham, offers a vivid behind-the-scenes portrait of history in the making. He marches with the daring young organizers in Liberation Square, confronts the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, and witnesses the dramatic rebuilding of a church at exactly the moment sectarian violence threatens the peaceful movement. Drawing on fifteen years of travels across the region, from Egypt to Israel, Iraq to Iran, Feiler brings his unprecedented experience to the most pressing questions: how the rise of freedom will affect terrorism; Middle East peace; and relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide. Eloquent and thoughtful, Generation Freedom offers a hopeful vision of how this unrivaled upheaval will transform the world.

About the Author

Bruce Feiler is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Abraham, Where God Was Born, America's Prophet, The Council of Dads, and The Secrets of Happy Families. He is a columnist for the New York Times, a popular lecturer, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062104985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062104984
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By V. L. Wilson on October 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy all Bruce Feiler books and finished this one last night - it is only 151 pages and details his thoughts on the Middle East revolutions during a recent visit to the region. It is best read slowly and thoughtfully.

I highlighted a few sentences - here is one that stands out: "One in seven human beings today is a Muslim under thirty. No matter what we may think of their religion, their heritage, or their culture, we must find a way to live alongside this next generation in the global economy of tomorrow."

There are five chapters pertaining to how freedom is being viewed across the world at this moment in history. Chapter one is "Freedom Comes Home". Chapter two is "The Birthplace of Freedom". Chapter three is "The Voice of Freedom." Chapter four is "Freedom to Believe". and the final chapter is "Generation Freedom".

The author discusses interviews with young activists, how facebook and technology is changing the modern world, and how religion and freedom must co-exist. I appreciate the fact that Bruce Feiler actually walks around the troubled countries, talks with leaders, and has no agenda other than to acquaint us with a worldview that includes Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith, and the need for co-operation and understanding. Feiler has spent 15 years traveling from Egypt to Israel, Iraq to Iran, writing about the Bible lands and now trying to find answers as to how the rise of freedom will affect the terrorists and world peace.
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Format: Paperback
Yet another classic piece from Bruce Feiler. If you love his other books you will like this one. Mr. Feiler merges his previous work on the bible and culture with the events from the newspaper. This is a very timely book about this Arab spring. His analysis is incredibly enriching.

Mr. Feiler offers something you won't see any other place. He explains events through various interviews of misc. people in the Arab world. Mr Feiler proves that recent events are not new but as grounded in culture and history as anything else in the region. He interjects bible and cultural references into the story of the Arab spring in Egypt.

I like his appraisal of the situation. He explains things this way. The people in the region are very grounded in their culture and religion. For example Mohammed used green during his conquest campaigns in the 600s as a theme or identification thing. Thus the democracy movement in Iran was called the green movement. There is a history of Islam embracing freedom of thought and of over throwing oppressors. Recent developments in demographics really provide the magic key of understanding to the situation. One third of the people in the Middle East are between the ages of 15 to 29. The population growth rate is at 2%. That is 60% higher than the global average. Mr Feiler explains that population bulges like that lead to trouble. He cites one study by the Population Action International found that between 1970 and 2007 86% of all outbreaks of conflict occurred in countries where 60% were younger than 30.

These new people are faced with few opportunities in their home countries. One report said that unemployment for youth was at 26%. Countries need a growth rate of 7-8% to sustain the population growth. Current growth in the region is only 3.6%.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to know more about what was going on with the revolutions in the Arab world, and I'd been considering reading Feiler's Walking the Bible for ages, so when I saw that he had written a short book about the uprisings--one that happened to be available for a discount at a closing bookstore--I decided to pick it up. The back covers says that it "looks at the historic youth uprisings sweeping the Middle East and what they mean for the future of peace, coexistence, and relations with the West", which was exactly what I wanted to find out about.

And the book does contain some interesting anecdotes about the revolutions, with a particular focus on Egypt, but on the whole I feel like I didn't learn very much. I maybe shouldn't have had high expectations for such a short book anyway (it's only 142 pages long), but the bigger problem is the approach that Feiler takes to the whole issue, an approach that isn't hinted at at all on the back cover. Basically, he believes that the Bible is the key to understanding the whole situation. There are a lot of comparisons to Moses and the Exodus. The following paragraph basically sums up Feiler's ideas:

"At first glance, it might seem like a stretch to say that the Egyptian Revolution--and the entire swath of uprisings that rattled the Middle East and North Africa beginning in 2010--had their roots in religion. After all, most of the high-profile organizers were young, not overtly spiritual, and their language appeared to be more secular than faith-based. But look beneath the surface, and it's easy to draw a straight line between the passionate cries for freedom across the Middle East and the earliest calls for freedom in the Ancient Near East.
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Format: Paperback
I'm split on this book. On the one hand, this is journalism at its best. A timely snapshot of feelings, perspectives and ideas that drove the Arab Spring. But it's also the kind of book that is almost out of date as soon as its printed -- so much has moved so fast that it's difficult to capture it all. I liked the book and learned a lot, but I'm not sure that it will be all that insightful in the months to come.
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