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This review is from: Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad (Paperback)
I'm not a student and certainly not an expert but a retired gent with an interest in world affairs. I have read a lot about central Asian and middle eastern conflicts but knew little about the background to this terrible conflict. Lesch does an excellent job of laying out the complexities both domestic and international and makes it easy to follow. The book ends in may 2013 so is up to date and relevant to today's news items. I've read a lot of authoritive books on other conflicts and some are too "academic" for my taste. Lesch's book is factual, easy to follow but never pretentious or patronizing.
As for the conflict itself, I was left thoroughly depressed and pessimistic. I see no good outcome indeed am even more anxious than I was about the sectarian divide in the context of the wider middle east.