- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 162040253X
- ISBN-13: 978-1620402535
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring 1st Edition
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“Danahar's analysis and projections are incisive and will appeal to policy wonks, while his conversational tone and ability to engage with a wide range of subjects will benefit a general readership.” ―Publishers Weekly
“The New Middle East is far and away the best book I've read on the effects of the Arab Spring: an excellent amalgamation of the scholarly and the journalistic, which gives it both a magisterial overview with precision of close-up experience. Country by country, Danahar has gone through the most important countries of the region, tracking the causes of change and the likely effects, and each of his judgments seems to me to be precise, enviably clear, thoroughly grounded and highly impressive. The world will move on after The New Middle East, and there will be major new developments, especially in Syria, but this book will continue to offer far more than just snapshot of a particular moment: it will be a text which I, for one, will come back to again and again in order to understand the future.” ―John Simpson
“There is lots of writing about the Middle East, much of it muddle-headed and ludicrously partial. It leaves you longing for a book that is clear-headed, honest and intelligent. Paul Danahar has produced such a book. His narrative spans a turbulent time but throughout all the upheavals and horrors he witnesses Danahar is a calm and intelligent witness. There is also great humanity in this excellent book. One is never allowed to forget that the Arab Spring is a narrative of people in extremis.” ―Fergal Keane
“Reporters who can analyse, and analysts who spent time on the ground, are rare. Time and again in this thorough, provocative and readable work, Danahar shows he combines the best of both. Danahar has spent years on the ground, working in some of the toughest places in the world. But this is no instant journalist's account. Every turned page reveals deep research, powerful argument and a talent for acutely observed detail. Anyone interested in the Middle East, its present, past or future, should read this book.” ―Jason Burke
“It's hard to think of a senior BBC journalist better placed to write such a fine book on what the Middle East and the world looks like in the wake of the Arab Spring or one that has more insights . . . He has managed to achieve what many writers rarely do; to allow the voices of the people he has met, interviewed and worked and traveled with to emerge and to paint a picture of the Arab Spring through their eyes. He has done so in a style that is immediate, accessible, and filled with warmth, compassion, realism.” ―Rageh Omar
“Danahar's account has the pacey urgency and vivid color of the on-the-day news reporting . . . he gives coherence and shape to the historic shifts taking place. He has talent for shutting the noise of extraneous detail and laying bare the big picture. This book is trenchant, opinionated, blunt, entertaining and pleasingly readbale. If you want a thorough accessible account of what has been going on in the Arab world over the last decade--and the historical context that gave rise to it--look no further.” ―Allan Little
“A cogent prognosis for the post-revolutionary Arab world.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Danahar uses his years of firsthand experience covering Middle East affairs, coupled with historical context, to inform the breakdown of Arab Spring events and highlight the social, political, and economic forces at play. He describes and analyzes the implications of these forces in shaping the future makeup of the Middle East, particularly for the Arab Spring countries themselves, from that pivotal moment forward. He analyzes each of the countries individually, and further ties his analysis to Western interests, explaining the complexity of the West's stakes in the Middle East.” ―The Middle East Journal, Vol 68, No. 1
About the Author
Paul Danahar is the BBC's Middle East Bureau Chief and ran the organization's news coverage of the Arab Spring. He has reported from Iraq, Iran and North Korea-every nation in the “Axis of Evil.” Follow him @pdanahar.
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I learned quite a bit from this book, and found the chapters on Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict particularly interesting. But, it must be noted that this book — like all history books, especially those chronicling near-past events — is a snapshot in time. Subsequent events inevitably change those who determine “the past,” or at least reveal new information which in turn results in new interpretations.
In the case of The New Middle East, there is no mention of the Islamic State, which is not surprising as the book was published before the group became widely known after declaring a worldwide caliphate. Reading the chapters on Syria and Libya, I felt the group’s lurking presence, but to get a better understanding of the situation will require further research (which isn’t a bad thing, really).
All in all, as stated, I found the book to be both informative and written in a style that drew me into the narrative, frequently using the author’s personal observations or those of interviewed locals. It is an excellent primer for those seeking to learn more about the background of the Arab Spring throughout the region as well as the immediate aftermath.
I am always aware when reading a book of this nature that a personal perspective, political leaning and ideology are inherent in the presentation. Still, where those differed from my own, I appreciated a different perspective, especially from someone who seemed knowledgeable and connected enough to give many eye witness or personal experience opinions.