'[Starr's] material is vivid, thought-provoking and sometimes shocking . . . As eyewitness testimony, it has great value, not least because it challenges some of the simple certainties that have characterised coverage of the Syrian uprising. Mr Starr captures the pain of a deeply torn society in the throes of a bitter struggle, one that has estranged brother from brother, friend from friend.' ----The Economist
'Starr's book is the only account that gives previously unheard voices a chance to be heard. ... his familiarity with the sectarian and political milieu in Syria is better than anyone I know. He has spent five years in the country, marrying into Syrian society if there is one Irishman that the Syrians would describe as muta rrib, Arabicised , it is him. ... Through a series of vignettes and anecdotes, Starr provides us with a plethora of voices from minorities: Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Palestinians, pro-regime and anti regime Syrians. ... The book is a witness to a dilapidated regime [and] Starr captures it all brilliantly.' ----New Statesman
'Unlike most western reporters who have written from Syria, Stephen Starr brings to bear a great deal of personal experience of the country, having lived and worked in Damascus for four years, including a spell with the state media. He's the sort of man who notices the price of milk going up and the increased presence of security forces on the streets as the noose tightens. With a wide network of friends and contacts, he conveys the warp and weft of daily life with an admirably nuanced understanding of the place.' ----The Spectator
About the Author
Stephen Starr is a freelance Irish journalist who has been reporting from Damascus since 2007. He covered the Syrian uprising for some of the world s leading newspapers and his work has been published in The Washington Post, Financial Times, The Times and Sunday Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Irish Times. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Near East Quarterly.