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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading on an essential region
This is the one book on the Middle East that anyone with a glimmer of interest in global affairs needs to read. It's just as essential for those who engage with the region on a daily basis. Veteran BBC journalist Paul Danahar has won accolades and honours for his reporting from Mesopotamia to the Mahghreb. This work will add to an existing impressive record of insightful...
Published 12 months ago by daniel lak

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with misprints. A disgrace.
The Kindle edition of this book is disgraceful. I am having to stop reading after only a few pages. For example, the first mention of the city of "Homs" spells it as "Horns". How could any publisher let this out?
Published 12 months ago by Kish Logan


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading on an essential region, 8 May 2014
This review is from: The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring (Paperback)
This is the one book on the Middle East that anyone with a glimmer of interest in global affairs needs to read. It's just as essential for those who engage with the region on a daily basis. Veteran BBC journalist Paul Danahar has won accolades and honours for his reporting from Mesopotamia to the Mahghreb. This work will add to an existing impressive record of insightful journalism. It's about a Middle East that is still emerging from what -- misleadingly -- came to be known as the "Arab Spring". The upheaval began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt and Libya and continues to convulse Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Not to mention Israel which both watches and participates in the affairs of neighbouring countries as a matter of survival and long habit. Combining journalists' anecdotes with penetrating analysis, Danahar moves effortlessly around the most militarized region in the world and exposes its worst excesses and the toll of human beings. There's also humour, pathos and flashes of inspiration and hope amid the tumult. Few reporters manage to pull off this delicate balance, venturing too far towards travel memoir or dry academic synthesis. Not Danahar who sets new standards in a well trodden genre. We eagerly await his next collection of reportage, perhaps from his current base in the Americas, or the lively political and economic landscapes of India and China where he honed his journalistic skills as a younger journalist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading, 23 Sept. 2013
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S. Stevens (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I started this book with trepidation because of course it couldn't possibly compete with Robert Fisk, 'The Great War for Civilisation' could it?! Well, I think it does. For anyone interested in the politics of the Middle East, it's required reading and I couldn't beleive how up to date it was; Paul Danahar must have had the manuscript ripped from his hands to send to printing, the stuff on Egypt was so up to date. Sadly, it was published after the recent chemical attack in Syria however the chapter on Iraq provides a pertinent reminder of what happens when foreign armies and foreign governments decide to indulge in 'regime change'. The great thing about this book is that you don;t have to have a great deal of knowledge about the region or it's politics and it's a great general read (it is not an academic tome). The historical, cultural and religious context was exactly at the right level. I'd like to see his next book (if I might be so bold) covering the Gulf Monarchies, Iran, the aftermath of Syria and (in'shallah) the Israel / Palestine Peace Process.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Analysis of a Confusing Period., 25 Feb. 2015
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Mr. D. J. Walford (Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring (Paperback)
This is an excellent intro to the situation in the Middle East, post-Arab Spring. Paul Danahar keeps it simple, yet informative and his work is very easily readable too. It must be stated, however, that this book was published before the present onslaught by ISIS so does not account for the developments in the last six months in both Syria and Iraq.

The events known today as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in 2011 and spread to several other Arab states in North Africa and the Middle East; Egypt, Libya, Iraq and also Syria. Danahar covers all five nations in depth. He also includes very interesting chapters on Israel, the Palestinian issue and also the role of the United States in the whole Middle Eastern saga. The author describes how the Arab Spring seems, so far, to have had a different impact in all the nations it has affected. After initial trauma, following the departure of President Ben Ali, Tunisia was to settle down into a fairly quiet 'democracy' of sorts.

The chapter on Egypt documents the constant, decades long struggle between the national army and the Muslim Brotherhood. After the military takeover in 1952, Nasser and Sadat's rule eventually saw the succession of President Mubarak. A deeply corrupt individual with an eye to having his son, Gamal, succeed him was eventually abandoned by the disapproving army. The subsequent revolution culminated with the election of President Morsi, the Islamist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, within two years, after an incredibly incompetent tenure by the MB, the army are back in power with President Sisi leading the nation. This appears to have the support of large sections of the population who effectively back the regime they protested against. A democracy... maybe, maybe not, but a step towards what Egyptians desire.

The overthrow of Gaddafi was to be brutal, with the government forces effectively losing control over the country very quickly. Now, a stable government of sorts runs the country following the brutal murder of the ideological Gaddafi and family.

Iraq is also covered. Whilst not necessarily being considered part of the Arab Spring, the evenst in Iraq have had a major impact upon its neighbours. The post-Saddam Shia insurgency is covered in depth, as are the dreadful mistakes by the Coalition during the 'War on Terror'. Ultimately, failures in planning and the aftermath of the invasion have left a damning legacy upon the nation, and also destroyed the credibility of the Bush administration.

Finally, Syria, with a chapter entitled 'Broken Heart'. Danahar's descriptions of the totally chaotic Syrian civil war are just plain harrowing. I was genuinely disgusted by the events there over the past three years. Truly awful. The author highlights the failures of all side, including the US and Russia in their attempts to address the crisis, although their actions on Bashar's chemical weapons are covered. His conclusions are quite apt too and he emphasizes the contrast between Bush's over-reaction in Iraq to Obama's under-reaction in Syria and how neither action has been an adequate answer to the question.

Ultimately, the Arab Spring signifies the final end to the last chapter of the Cold War leaders in the Middle East, at least that's what I believe Paul Danahar is stating. Also, the chapters on Israel and Palestine are incredibly interesting, documenting Israel's internal struggles between the Orthodox and Zionist populations. I learnt something new there too. Very good book and an excellent introduction to the New Middle East.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An admirable and readable account of the "New Middle East", 1 Mar. 2015
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This is a really clear and fast paced account of the middle east after the Arab spring. Danahar clearly has considerable first hand knowledge of the region both before and after the events of 2011, and he deploys this expertly and easily in his text. I read this as a handbook to both explaining the 2011 'spring' and its aftermath, and in the hope of getting some background on the status quo ante. I'm pleased to say that Danahar provides a concise and readable account of the situation that existed before the changes, allowing him to place the violent consequences firmly in context.

After an introductory overview, Mr Danahar takes a largely country by country approach - Egypt, Israel, Syria, Libya and Iraq each getting chapters - as well as telescoping out to look at the international context (for example with a chapter on America's middle east approaches). He certainly doesn't neglect the Gulf states and their impact either, about which he is often very damning.

I have the kindle edition of this book, admirable for ease of reading, but am contemplating buying a physical edition since it does merit regular returns for reference. I also came to the book with limited existing knowledge of the region and its politics beyond that of interested news watcher - Danahar fills in the gaps and writes, as the journalist he is, with an intent to explain a complex arena succinctly and excitingly to the general reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great backgrounder for the Middle East, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring (Paperback)
This book is a great read for anyone wishing to grasp the background to the current mess in the Middle East. From America's mistakes in Iraq to the long-running campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the place of al-Qaeda, and the allegiances between different states (and US involvement on so many levels)... the gaps are filled in though at times there is a feeling that complete understanding, no matter how many talking head "experts" are quoted along the way (and there are many), is impossible. Since the edition of the book that I read was published, Isis has come into being, arriving almost overnight. Not many pundits saw that coming - none, as far as I know.

I found the sections explaining George W Bush's policy promoting a "Freedom Agenda" intriguing - that the US encouraged the idea of elections in the region in the mid 2000s and that this "bubbled" away, eventually leading to the Arab Spring. Then the "wrong" leaders were voted in, making the Americans wonder if the old dictators weren't a better bet for a reliable source of cheap oil, after all. Oil seems to underlie everything.

There is a chapter on Israel entitled "Israel: It's complicated", which is interesting on what is said about the ultra-Orthodox community.

Reportage is mixed in now and then and there are patches of colour writing in this strong book, though fewer talking heads (and about 100 fewer pages) would have helped. But still enjoyable....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative, 5 Jan. 2014
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John Gray (England) - See all my reviews
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Gave me a good view on the outlook for the Middle East, at least as seen by the author. While I had done a certain amount of reading about the region, I learned quite a bit from this book. If I had to fault it slightly, I found the author repeated himself a bit, making the same point several times. However, that aside, I liked the book, enjoyed reading it, and was surprised (and enlightened) by much of the content, realising that there are many more complexities to the societies in the region than in the picture portrayed in the media. Well worth a read, and good value given how informative it is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for anyone trying to get to grips with the New Middle East., 8 Oct. 2013
A superbly engaging read. Paul Danahar has witnessed first hand most of the key moments of the last 2 and half years of upheaval across the Middle East. Pithy, clear, compassionate, well sourced and sometimes with a welcome dose of dry humour. The repercussions of the events of "the Arab Spring" will be felt for decades and it could be longer before the dust finally settles. But this book is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to get to grips with the New Middle East. Students of the region and Universities around the world should get it on their recommended reading lists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend this book., 12 May 2014
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I found this book extremely interesting and easy to read considering the seriousness of the subject matter - excellent book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately this moving target beat the author but..., 5 Nov. 2013
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B. James (Taunton, Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
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A very interesting and lucidly presented book giving background to the various "arab springs" informing on the directly involved countries and supplying much pertinent information on other countries associated with those directly involved in the uprisings. In the main the book is up to date except that the changes involving the removal of (ex) President Morsi in Egypt means that the author's commentary on Egypt which ends shortly after Morsi's appointment, is rendered incomplete; his comments on other involved countries remain valid (up to today -5 Nov 2013!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars compulsory reading, 30 Sept. 2013
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Anybody interested in current affairs should read this book. Most informative and beautifully written. I am more than likely to read it again. The chapters dealing with Israel and USA politics were most interesting and helped to understand better the events that are taking place in the Middle East. I hope Paul Denahar writes an update in the near future, as things are moving so fast.
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The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring
The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring by Paul Danahar (Paperback - 8 May 2014)
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