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Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World Hardcover – July 19, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Rock the Casbah

“[Wright] provides invaluable context for what she rightly terms ‘the epic convulsion across the Islamic world’ by listening to voices we don't usually hear....Anyone seeking deeper understanding of the Arab Spring needs to read Wright's formidably well-informed book ….Wright's richly textured portrait of ancient cultures in the throes of wrenching but liberating transformation makes it quite clear that Muslims themselves will decide their future.”
— Los Angeles Times

“…Wright is an expert on the subject and this book is an accessible and riveting account for readers looking to learn more about the post-9/11 Islamic world.”
Publishers Weekly

“…Wright is one of the most capable observers of the Middle East….her chronicles of counter-jihad, anti-militancy, and women's mobilization are a timely contribution.”
—Huffington Post

Praise for Robin Wright’s

Dreams and Shadows

“Wright has long been one of the best-informed American journalists covering the Middle East, and her reputation is born out here. . . . Her book will be essential reading for anybody who wants to know where it is heading.”
--The New York Times Book Review

“Only Wright could have written Dreams and Shadows because only Wright has traveled so widely, interviewed such diverse leaders, and brought so much wisdom to analyzing the region’s many-sided puzzles. This volume, full of mesmerizing detail and large truths, sets a new standard for scholarship on the modern Middle East.”

--Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

“If there is such a thing as a pinnacle in the landscape of international journalism, Robin Wright surely stands atop it.”

--The New York Review of Books

“Robin Wright is well aware of the complexities, paradoxes and the seemingly insurmountable dilemmas facing the Middle East today. She reminds us that in facing these challenges we need not resort to military force and violence or resign ourselves to compromise with extremism and tyranny.”
-- Azar Nafisi, author Reading Lolita in Tehran

“The best of all possible worlds: An old hand guides us through the changes in the post-9/11 Middle East, and is able to sort out in a sober, smart way what is really going on.”

--Thomas Ricks, author Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq

About the Author

Robin Wright has reported from more than a 140 countries on six continents for The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, TIME magazine, The Sunday Times of London, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the International Herald Tribune and others. Her foreign tours include the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Wright has been a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Yale, Duke, Stanford, University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Southern California.

Among many awards, she won the U.N. Correspondents Association Gold Medal for coverage of foreign affairs, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Award for "best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initia­tive." The American Academy of Diplomacy selected her as the journalist of the year in 2004. She is also the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. Foundation grant.

Her books include Rock the Casbah, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam, Flashpoints: Promise and Peril in a New World, and In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade.

She is a frequent television commentator on foreign affairs. She has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, Charlie Rose, Larry King, all the major morning and evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN and MSNBC. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143910316X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439103166
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on July 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Tunisia and Egypt both saw regime change in less than 30 days. Syria has now been going on five months. And in many ways, Syria is the most surprising and the most difficult place because it is such a brutal regime and it's also geographically right in the middle of, whether it's Israel on one front, the Gulf states on another, ..., that it is so pivotal to what happens in so many other places." -- Robin Wright

The Casbah, is the fortified citadel in many North African cities, similar to the citadel of Algiers in Algeria, governor's headquarters. The name made its way into English from French in the late 19th century. "Rock the Casbah," expresses the mood of the Arab Spring and the revolt against their Muslim dictators. Over the last few decades, tensions have been brewing in Arabic and Muslim countries on the South and East Mediterranean shores, and around the Gulf of Aden. The Arab Spring has targeted several regimes in the Middle East; first, Tunisia's ruler Ben Ali, then Egypt's Mubarak was forced to step down, leaving the country with uncertain future; and Egypt western neighbor, Libya, has since a civil war to oust Qadhafi after forty years of lunatic dictatorship. Assad's cling to power caused Syria hundreds of deaths and thousands of civilian causalities. Meanwhile Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh; is recovering from his wounds and burns caused by a rocket attack, has vowed to fight to the death against the Yemeni tribes lining up against him.

Robin Wright reviews the chaotic situation caused by the political unrest, populous revolts, and civil wars in the Middle East, and across the Islamic World.
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Format: Hardcover
Remarkable book both in details and perspective that most of the US media are missing. Listening to poets historically revered in the Middle East, hip-hop rappers utilizing new technology, feminists in pink hejab, standup comedians mocking irrational fears of all Muslims, and Muslim clerics with a wide television following, Robin Wright has caught the backlash within the Muslim community against Islamic extremism that only her years of experience as an international journalist can interpret. This is a must read for any American who really wants to understand the current turmoil across the Middle East. Despite Wright's warning that the young revolutionaries expect too much too soon, and her cautions that all change encounters setbacks, her overall perspective is definitely encouraging. She has great faith that it will be the worldwide Muslim community that determines its own fate. It would be helpful if American politicians and diplomats were listening more closely to this reporter who has spent years developing an understanding not only of Middle Eastern leadership but the vast variations among Sunni and Shia populations in countries with very different cultures. For the majority of Americans who do not have a close Muslim friend nor the opportunity to travel in a Muslim country, reading this book is the next best thing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard Robin Wright interviewed on PBS NewsHour. That interview led me to purchase this book which is essentially a series of events that occurred in Arabic/Muslim countries over the past 12-15 months. The book provided to me an understanding of what ignited the recent protests in the Arab/Muslim world. I now have considerably more hope for democratic style freedoms in those areas of the world. This is a very readable book, one that the reader will enjoy while being informed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone who has wondered, "Why don't Muslims speak out about Islamic extremism?", or wants to know the behind-the-scenes details about the "Arab Spring" revolutions and where the Arab world is headed, must read this book. It's a fascinating, well-researched, detailed account of what the Muslim youth (primarily) are doing about taking control of their futures -- and their religion -- and how they're doing it.
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Format: Paperback
This book had weaknesses before the last few months, arguing as it does that Muslims all over the Middle east are mounting a "counter-jihad." Apparantly, the counter-jihad will not be televised because I have never seen it.

It argues how much Muslims turned against bin-Laden prior to his death. It does NOT mention that those same Muslims hid bin-Laden, not in some cave in the border regions of Pakistan but in the major city of Abbattobad, near one of the Pakistani Army's largest bases. It does NOT mention the large-scale rioting and the destruction of supply convoys to Afghanistan. It does NOT mention that the Pakistani doctor who helped us confirm the target was charged with TREASON (!) and is now serving time in a prison... for assisting us to get rid of this guy that Muslims supposedly hate.

It argues that the Arab Spring is a bunch of democratic movements across the Middle East, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, a form of Islamic democracy which is not like that of our nasty and confusing western democracy. This democracy simplifies things by simplifying the electorate to exclude women and eventually excluding voting of any kind. Or at least that seems to be the way I've seen Africa and the Middle East go.

But three months has made a difference.

Benghazi showed us that Libya clearly is not a happy-go-lucky terrorist-free democracy.

Pakistan has seen the Taliban attempting to kill or disfigure girls trying to get an education.

Gaza had the Arab world cheering for Hamas as it "defended itself" by hurling high-explosive rockets at Israeli towns.

Turkey had the Arab World condemning them for the "aggressive act" of asking for NATO Patriot units to defend themselves from Syrian attack.
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