Steel & Silk by Moubaed is a rare reference book for the study of the history of modern Syria in the 20 th Century . It is written with an objective view and is based on detailed research on each personality . I highly recommend this book
Sami Moubayed's book is indispensible for students of Syria and all those who are interested in its modern history. It is a work of love by one of Syria's leading journalists and historians. As advertised, "In Steel & Silk you will meet the nationalists who led the independence struggle against the French. You will meet the statesmen who made Syria a central player in the Middle East. You will meet poets, painters, dramatists and thinkers as well as diplomats, journalists, and civil servants. Over 160 black & white photos. Includes a workshop for students, journalists, and researchers that includes an annotated timeline of 20th Century Syria, and lists of Syrian officials since the fall of the Ottomans in 1918.
I have had it on my desk for only a few months now and have already refered to it many times to find out more about the men and women who made Syria. Joshua Landis, author of SyriaComment.com
Having been written by a young Syrian, makes it all the more relevant; as it has become regrettably customary--in this iconoclastic day and age--for young Middle-Easterners, to distance themselves from reverence for (or even simple interest in) their own heritage and history.
The bleak present and dark future--which are the direct descendants of decades of tyrannical, despotist, absolutist and opportunist rulers and forms of government--have not only left their imprints on the psyche of many young Arabs (especially Syrians); but also created a wide chasm between them and an active interest in their modern history.
The author of this book defies these two hurdles, marvelously escaping one of the tumors infecting young Arabs today: apathy.
In this book, the author lucidly brings to life the biographies of Syrian personalities (politicians, but also socialites, artists and women and men of literature, thinkers and reformers, economists and educators) through an astonishingly original, astute and concise narrative that not only focuses onto heroic deeds or great contributions to Syrian history--but also manages to paint a human portrait of them, by vividly portraying cultural nuances, interesting trivia, and funny anecdotes.
This book makes for a riveting read, and is a must-have for anyone seeking to discover (or re-discover) Syria; a Syria of hope, of human promise, and potential--in stark contrast with the prevalent image of Syria in the media today.
Finally, Jamil Mardam Bey (Prime Minister of Syria in the 1940s--and quoted in the foreword of the book) said it best: "...all is not lost."