History in Review
A Collection of Books on the Syrian Civil War
A 'multiple' History in Review Book of the Week Selection for the Week of June 17, 2013
To my knowledge, no single book exists that provides an unbiased and comprehensive overview of the causes of the current political unrest that has engulfed Syria - or the aims of the various participants. Therefore, this week's book of the week is actually a series of books. If you are interested in becoming conversant with the political, social, and religious underpinnings of the current rebellion / civil war, I suggest that you select two or more of these books to read. By such means you will gain a greater understanding of the current situation than you would if you only read one book on the subject. Reading one or more of these books will also provide you with insights on how and why the Syrian people thought that Bashar al-Assad, upon taking up the mantle of President of Syria upon his father's death in 2000, would begin to institute much needed reforms - and why he failed to do so. You'll also learn that while Sunni Muslims make up the majority of Syria's citizens, they have been ruled for decades by the Assad family, members of the Alawite sect of Shia Islam. And, you'll discover why these religious divisions can easily lead to a larger conflict as neighboring countries and groups, such as Hezbollah, begin to take sides based upon ideology...
The books that I'd recommend to anyone seeking to gain a greater understanding of the current political unrest in Syria are:
If none of the above books provide you with the information you desire, be patient. A slew of books on the current conflict, Syrian history, and related subjects are in production and are slated to be published over the next several months...
- Religion and State in Syria: The Sunni Ulama from Coup to Revolution, by Thomas Pierret.
Cambridge University Press, March 2013
- Revolt in Syria: Eye-witness to the Uprising, by Stephen Starr.
Columbia University Press, August 2012
- The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'th Party, by Nikolaos van Dam.
I. B. Tauris: Revised Edition, June 2011
- Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad, by David W. Lesch.
Yale University Press, September 2012
- The Syrian Rebellion, by Fouad Ajami.
Hoover Institution Press, May 2012
Such as The Syrian Uprising: Dynamics of an Insurgency (St. Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria), by Carsten Wieland, Adam Almqvist, and Helena Nassif, which is due out later this month.
If I come across any additional books that look promising, I'll update this listing to include them... - Anna Dogole
Conflicts in the Middle East since 1945. Second Edition, by Beverley Milton-Edwards and Peter Hinchcliffe.
A brief, up-to-date overview on the causes and consequences of the conflicts in the Middle East since 1945.
A History of the Arab Peoples, By Albert Hourain.
This book offers a sweeping glimpse of Arab culture and society, presented within an historical framework that spans almost thirteen centuries.
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