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The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar Al Asad and Modern Syria Hardcover – 11 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (11 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300109911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300109917
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,168,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A first-rate analysis of the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the Bashar al Asad regime, and Asad's mixed record in meeting these challenges" Dr. Robert O. Freedman"

About the Author

David Lesch is an expert on Middle Eastern Studies. A Professor at Trinity University in Texas, his many books include The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this from Amazon years ago. I wonder if David Lesch still remembers the themes of his book? Embarrassing, aren't they - Assad never did get round to those reforms, did he! And what about those photos of the author with Assad?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
29 of 42 people found the following review helpful
An apologetic praise of the Syrian regime 22 May 2007
By Hussain Abdul-Hussain - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As in Seale and other Western intellectuals who take off to Syria to write a book there, the generosity and good treatment of the regime toward these people make them fall in love with the regime. You can tell from the very first page when Lesch was very much impressed when Assad replied to his emails.

Needless to say, I couldn't finish this book due to the enormous amount of praise that Lesch hails on the young Syrian president, the Damascus Lion. All that is good in Syria came from Assad and all that is evil came from Syria's enemies in the West. According to this book, the good-willed, kind-hearted Assad is sincerely planning to modernize and democratize Syria, had it not been for the Western anti-Syrian conspiracies that have so far thwarted all such attempts. What an analysis.

Also like the reviewer EDowson (MD) wrote here before me, there is no information about Syria. Perhaps if the author had access to some numbers, like the percentage of people living in poverty while Assad and his group enjoy accumulating enormous wealth, or the number of years anti-Assad opposition figures have spent in the prisons of the Syrian regime, perhaps then Lesch would have changed his opinion a bit. Most important of all, when Lesch writes about the lack of democracy and the nature of the tyrannical regime in Damascus, he does so without even blinking. As if Syria is destined to live under dictatorship and that the dictator himself should be given the chance to renounce his unlimited powers and initiate change. Don't buy this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
love this book 19 April 2014
By Susan J. Romer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book was very fair in the way they wrote about President Assad. Appreciated that it wasnt a negative propaganda tool to sway peoples minds. It expressed the good and the bad and gave some awesome history. Love it and is great for anyone that seeks to know the truth about President Assad. Not one sided.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
OK, but . . . 30 Mar. 2011
By Daisy B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
for a more balanced, up-to-date, first-person account, read IN THE LION'S DEN: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle with Syria, by Andrew Tabler, which will be coming out in September 2011. The wait is worth it for the behind-the-scenes perspective.
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Timely 14 Nov. 2008
By Sam Farah - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A well researched and very informative book about Syria and it's new president. Syria is a strategic country in a very important part of the world. Mr.Lesch shed a bright light into that corner of the world
12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Worshipping Assad 15 Nov. 2007
By Christopher W. Wilken - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The introduction of the book tellingly includes a comparison of Bashar al-Assad to the author. We learn that the author switched careers, from baseball to academia, which, according to the author, is like Bashar, who suddenly became the President-in-waiting after his elder brother Basil was killed in a car accident. The comparison is a stretch, but it tells us of the author's ability to see Bashar al-Assad as a sympathetic character.

I am baffled and a bit confused by the lengths to which Prof. Lesch goes to defend the Assad regime. Every description of Machiavellian Stalin-like behavior is followed up by a lengthy rationalization complete with a plethora of quotes from regime figures. I expect analysis, but every piece of analysis following some act that most would find repugnant is merely an explanation putting the regime in a positive light. What confuses me is how a professor from a U.S. social sciences department can write something that would appear to have come right off the pages of "al-Baath" (the Syria Pravda). Academics ought to be striving for the ideal of objectivity; however, he appears to be striving to become part of the inner circle.

I found myself trying to hard to focus on ignoring the adoration for Bashar al-Assad and skipping to the geopolitical sections, but I was simply too distracted by the extent to which Lesch has fallen for his subject. Thus, I would repeatedly put the book down and pick it back up in an effort to finish a book that I started.

I bought the book at a book fair in front of the Assad library in Damascus, Syria in September 2007.
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