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The definitive work of literary journalism on the Arab Spring and its troubled aftermath In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken o The definitive work of literary journalism on the Arab Spring and its troubled aftermath In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top. A Rage for Order is the first work of literary journalism to track the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. In the style of V. S. Naipaul and Lawrence Wright, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth brings the history of the present to life through vivid stories and portraits. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the Qaddafi-regime torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy. Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East, and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.


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The definitive work of literary journalism on the Arab Spring and its troubled aftermath In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken o The definitive work of literary journalism on the Arab Spring and its troubled aftermath In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top. A Rage for Order is the first work of literary journalism to track the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. In the style of V. S. Naipaul and Lawrence Wright, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth brings the history of the present to life through vivid stories and portraits. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the Qaddafi-regime torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy. Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East, and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.

30 review for A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS

  1. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    Really one of the most stirring and evocative books I've read in recent memory. A history of the Arab Spring told through the lives of the men and women who lived through it. This is a brief but yet epic recounting of the monumental human dramas of this era. The writing is absolutely captivating; its like history as literature. The Arab uprisings happened due to a simple demand for a "dawla," a state that accorded its people the promise of real citizenship; dignity, hope and opportunity. It came Really one of the most stirring and evocative books I've read in recent memory. A history of the Arab Spring told through the lives of the men and women who lived through it. This is a brief but yet epic recounting of the monumental human dramas of this era. The writing is absolutely captivating; its like history as literature. The Arab uprisings happened due to a simple demand for a "dawla," a state that accorded its people the promise of real citizenship; dignity, hope and opportunity. It came apart strand by strand, and peoples hopes have in many cases now been transmuted into an overwhelming rage against the forces that suppress them. I really can't recommend this book enough. Whether the Arab Spring is a subject of interest or not this, this book is just a tour de force of the human experience.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    In the slew of books about the post-Arab Spring Middle East, rarely has anyone captured the humanity of the struggle within so eloquently. Worth is a former Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times who spent a decade reporting on the region, and this book isn’t a historical study. Instead it captures the narratives of revenge, sectarianism, corruption and religious fervor that run through the wars and revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen through the lives of ordinary people, from an in In the slew of books about the post-Arab Spring Middle East, rarely has anyone captured the humanity of the struggle within so eloquently. Worth is a former Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times who spent a decade reporting on the region, and this book isn’t a historical study. Instead it captures the narratives of revenge, sectarianism, corruption and religious fervor that run through the wars and revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen through the lives of ordinary people, from an interrogator with a Libyan militia who finds himself charged with the government torturer who killed his brother, to two women, one Sunni and one Alawite, in Syria whose friendship disintegrates with the uprising in Syria, to Tahrir Square in Egypt’s brief promise of egalitarianism, and how it all fell apart. – Kareem Shaheen from The Best Books We Read In June 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/06/29/riot-r...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is a history observed by this reporter since 2011 during the Arab Spring, for the Middle Eastern countries surrounding Egypt, where his report begins. It's dire. It's more than a difficult read. He tells the story through a particular person's tale in each country. The languages, the tribal, clan, other cultural particulars dense to definition and comprehension. The Introduction is essential to understanding much of what you read in the following eye witness reports, IMHO. The indigenous div This is a history observed by this reporter since 2011 during the Arab Spring, for the Middle Eastern countries surrounding Egypt, where his report begins. It's dire. It's more than a difficult read. He tells the story through a particular person's tale in each country. The languages, the tribal, clan, other cultural particulars dense to definition and comprehension. The Introduction is essential to understanding much of what you read in the following eye witness reports, IMHO. The indigenous divisions and factions being so multiple that even with the best of communications, to solidify for one governmental control in any one larger area? Three or four friends celebrating together after Mubarak's ousting, 2 or 3 years later, where are they? Fighting each other, and 2 of them sawing off the head of one of the others. It told me some portions of facts in context that I already knew, but some pivotal points for Middle Eastern "eyes" that I did not. For instance, that there has never been a peaceful or voting process take over of true authoritative power in any of these governmental, nation defined entities. Not without consequence of military or vindictive physical reprisals. Torture and slow death to obscuring by brutal force any access to "voting" or negation to the current seated power. And also that in several of these locations, the more the percentage of the middle class evolves from education, manufacture, trade etc. the worse things are going to get. Human rights and civil liberties violations and atrocities, being much worse than surmised in the wider world- even with the specific detailing that we do see on other continents. It's not an optimistic view of this reality in any sense, IMHO. But it will educate you to some of these realities.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Simmons

    I started reading this book on the streets of Sidi Bouzid, where 26-year-old street cart vendor Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself in petrol, set himself alight, and unwittingly kickstarted the Arab Spring, about which Robert F. Worth's book is the single best work I've read to date. This is not a history book, or a geopolitics survey, or a sociological study -- though it contains elements of all of these things. Instead it focuses on the very human side of the conflict, following particular indivi I started reading this book on the streets of Sidi Bouzid, where 26-year-old street cart vendor Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself in petrol, set himself alight, and unwittingly kickstarted the Arab Spring, about which Robert F. Worth's book is the single best work I've read to date. This is not a history book, or a geopolitics survey, or a sociological study -- though it contains elements of all of these things. Instead it focuses on the very human side of the conflict, following particular individuals in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya as their lives and nations are upended by revolution and are then left to ask: ok, now what? A fascinating and heartbreaking read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Abbie Olson

    Written by the former New York Times Beirut bureau chief, this book tackles the buildup to and aftermath of the Arab Spring in several Arab States (Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia, with a smattering of Iraq), though I think the Tunisian arc was particularly fascinating. Highly readable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ekul

    Really kaleidoscopic, Robert Worth is able to zoom in and out with ease. Most of these chapters emphasize a few individuals and a couple stories, which are then used to talk more broadly about individual societies. Although I can't properly evaluate a number of cases here, I thought Worth's treatment of Tunisia was particularly interesting. In that chapter, he analyzes the relationship between the late former president, Beji Caid Essebsi, and the leader of the Islamist Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi Really kaleidoscopic, Robert Worth is able to zoom in and out with ease. Most of these chapters emphasize a few individuals and a couple stories, which are then used to talk more broadly about individual societies. Although I can't properly evaluate a number of cases here, I thought Worth's treatment of Tunisia was particularly interesting. In that chapter, he analyzes the relationship between the late former president, Beji Caid Essebsi, and the leader of the Islamist Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, to see how a national dialogue was built and brought Tunisia out of its 2013-14 constitutional crisis. I'm going to use this review to talk a little bit about Worth's treatment of Tunisia. Worth is truly sympathetic to both of these individuals, although I do get the sense that he prefers Ghannouchi. Ghannouchi is treated as an individual as committed to liberal democracy as he is to developing a more Islamic society. Essebsi, in contrast, as seen as a positive [although weaker] symbol of the old Bourguibist strain in Tunisian politics. To Worth, Rached Ghannouchi laid his entire political career on the line to safeguard Tunisian democracy and avert civil war, whereas Essebsi made a few less significant overtures and the Quartet merely mediated the affair. In large part, I do agree with Worth's treatment of Ghannouchi, but I think one failing he has is that by emphasizing the role of individuals, he misses the larger potential threat of Ennahda. At some point, Ennahda will need to move from collaboration to confrontation if it wants to maintain its role as a potentially generative force in Tunisian politics [for more on this shift, see Sarah Yerkes's and Zeineb Ben Yahmed's article here]. In addition--as much as I respect Bajbouj--I think Worth downplays the issues with his political history and the corruption in Tunisian politics. Take the critical role of Nabil Karoui, for instance, in arranging the series of meetings between Essebsi and Ghannouchi. As anyone who follows Tunisian politics knows, Karoui is corrupt as fuck and I don't doubt that Essebsi had a stake in Karoui's corruption. I don't have the patience to deal with Karoui here, but I will say that I'm glad he lost the presidency to Kais Saied last year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Myles

    "A Rage for Order" is just another one of those books I found terribly depressing and enlightening at the same time. A power vacuum sucked all the optimism out of the Middle East after the Arab Spring when the euphoria of overturning dictators wore off. But who to indict first: 1) The disorganized liberal and leftist factions; 2) the moderately organized Islamist groups; 3) the better organized (and corrupt) military bureaucracies; or 4) the moneyed interests in Saudi Arabia? I'll have to leave "A Rage for Order" is just another one of those books I found terribly depressing and enlightening at the same time. A power vacuum sucked all the optimism out of the Middle East after the Arab Spring when the euphoria of overturning dictators wore off. But who to indict first: 1) The disorganized liberal and leftist factions; 2) the moderately organized Islamist groups; 3) the better organized (and corrupt) military bureaucracies; or 4) the moneyed interests in Saudi Arabia? I'll have to leave answering these questions to my Middle East friends. In the meantime, who will take responsibility for the mess in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, or what seems the biggest mess of all: Syria? Syria, like Yugoslavia and Rwanda before it, pits neighbour against neighbour. Family friendships give way to suspicion, distrust, and too frequently violence. Perhaps I knew once, but had forgotten, that Bashir al Assad, pressured by the West to step down, took the unwarranted step of emptying all his prisons of the most radical Islamists and murderers to shift public outrage away from him to the growing jihadi groups. As I recall, he took a page from Fidel Castro's playbook. In order to get even with the US acceptance of boat people from Cuba, Castro emptied his prisons and sent them all to Miami. Figure out how to put the genii back in the bottle in Syria and you will have a formula for reconciliation in the rest of the Arab states. Some day all of these states will need an accounting much like that which was done in South Africa, without packing the jails once again. Truth, reconciliation, forgiveness, and the political will to move past sectarian grievances. Like Ireland a little? We have the mechanisms to wind down the violence. When will our brothers in the Middle East find the political will to do so?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    I’m chary of ‘literary journalism’ claims (once bitten, twice shy), but yeah. At times this acts like a tragic novel. A few of its human portraits are art + reality. Interspersed is introductory material, so you don’t lose your footing even if you’re not up with current events (me) or with history. Neither the ecstasy of the attempt, nor the sadness of its failure, are smudged over or sacrificed one to the other. I felt funny about some sentences, which inhibits me from 5*. I read it in an afterno I’m chary of ‘literary journalism’ claims (once bitten, twice shy), but yeah. At times this acts like a tragic novel. A few of its human portraits are art + reality. Interspersed is introductory material, so you don’t lose your footing even if you’re not up with current events (me) or with history. Neither the ecstasy of the attempt, nor the sadness of its failure, are smudged over or sacrificed one to the other. I felt funny about some sentences, which inhibits me from 5*. I read it in an afternoon and evening; it’s short and novelesque enough to want to do so.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steve Solnick

    Extraordinary book. Immensely illuminating snapshot of the rise and fall of the Arab Spring, through the lens of specific individuals and relationships in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia. Worth has the ease of a Kapuscinski or a Boo for capturing a whole movement in a single detail. His characters are vivid, alive and almost invariably tragic. A must read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John Rymer

    Great read, loaded with insight A gripping narrative built on reporting on and individual life stories in the epicenters of the Arab Spring. I found many echoes of politics in Trump's USA, including the despair that leads to violence. Could not put down this book. Bravo! Great read, loaded with insight A gripping narrative built on reporting on and individual life stories in the epicenters of the Arab Spring. I found many echoes of politics in Trump's USA, including the despair that leads to violence. Could not put down this book. Bravo!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thebookiemonster

    Strolling along the Corniche in Beirut, Lebanon, I encountered a world of contradictions. While the call to prayer echoed over my head, a hip 20-something in designer leather shoes with a greaser haircut smoked a cigarette. Young, buxom women in colorful headscarves and faces full of make up passed by, while a flash of Gucci shoes peeked out from the bottom of a conservative woman's robe. It was here I met for tea with Yusuf, a self-styled communist revolutionary hailing from Palestine. Most of t Strolling along the Corniche in Beirut, Lebanon, I encountered a world of contradictions. While the call to prayer echoed over my head, a hip 20-something in designer leather shoes with a greaser haircut smoked a cigarette. Young, buxom women in colorful headscarves and faces full of make up passed by, while a flash of Gucci shoes peeked out from the bottom of a conservative woman's robe. It was here I met for tea with Yusuf, a self-styled communist revolutionary hailing from Palestine. Most of this meager "definitive account" is written just like the passage above, which I just wrote in 30 seconds while trying to sound as annoying as possible. It read like a caffeinated freshman's journal about his study abroad to Egypt. To be fair, the book description made it clear this wasn't meant to be a hard-nosed analysis of the Arab Spring. Knowing and expecting that, I was still surprised at the nonsense that filled most of the pages. Congrats on all the awards to the author. Obviously, a ton of people loved his work and found a lot more value in it than me. This could be a good pick for someone who hasn't read similar books before (like those by Tom Friedman) or who wants to feel a little exotic and go on a fun, low-pressure adventure while learning a morsel or two about the Arab Spring. Thinking back, there WAS a good deal of historical and political context provided for the Egyptian revolution, but there was far too much filler along the way. To me, it was a lazy, simplistic human-interest story that focused on all the wrong topics for far too long. Nearly every Arab interviewed is quoted as desperately wanting democracy and "rule of law." The way it's painted in the book, those Arabs emphatically and unquestionably meant "democracy" as people in the West define it, and all had a fluent grasp of English. But I think if he dug deeper in those interviews, he'd realize their conception of democracy and laws would differ greatly from people in the West. I can just see this American author's eyes lighting up at a bubble gum vendor in Tahrir Square shouting "Yay Obama! Democracy #1!" and scribbling in his notebook about the people's heartfelt desire to emulate the American political system. That's why all the schadenfreude in news coverage after the Arab Spring "failed" seemed so juvenile and irrelevant to me. NYT also has a record of reporting the government narrative in overseas stories, as documented by Noam Chomsky's painstaking analysis of the NYT's coverage of the Nicaragua crisis. The two parts I found useful were the history of the Alawis and the chapter near the end about Tunisian political figures, but the latter was hard to follow. He barely mentions terrorism and offers no real opinions on the various terrorist groups at play. There was enough historical research and context provided to make this a two-star, but I would not recommend this book for anyone who actually wants to learn about the political background and unfolding of the Arab Spring.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mack Hayden

    If you're looking for a brief but informative overview of the Arab Spring and its fallout, this is a great option. Worth manages to focus on the human element of each country he details, balancing the larger scale of events with specific personal narratives, all over the course of a relatively short time. In doing so, he reveals just how great a tragedy these still-unfolding events are shaping up to be. As I put this book down, I couldn't help but think those of us alive through this time were w If you're looking for a brief but informative overview of the Arab Spring and its fallout, this is a great option. Worth manages to focus on the human element of each country he details, balancing the larger scale of events with specific personal narratives, all over the course of a relatively short time. In doing so, he reveals just how great a tragedy these still-unfolding events are shaping up to be. As I put this book down, I couldn't help but think those of us alive through this time were witness to the same dynamics as the Iranian Revolution—hope for a liberal democracy giving way to yet another, sometimes harsher, autocracy—playing out on a wider scale. And I, for one, hardly paid attention while it was happening. A very sad read but an important one if you want to understand how/why the Middle East is the way it is these days.

  13. 4 out of 5

    B

    Some people can only read non-fiction books, and particularly history books, if told through a humanist paradigm, using social anthropology instead of facts. Those people would like this book as a way to learn a little about the human experiences of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately I bought this book to learn more facts about the Arab Spring, and the only facts in this book are so basic and scarce that I might as well have just read Wikipedia. I just did not feel interested in or connected to the ca Some people can only read non-fiction books, and particularly history books, if told through a humanist paradigm, using social anthropology instead of facts. Those people would like this book as a way to learn a little about the human experiences of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately I bought this book to learn more facts about the Arab Spring, and the only facts in this book are so basic and scarce that I might as well have just read Wikipedia. I just did not feel interested in or connected to the cast of civilian, political, or militant characters in this book, and walked away having learned almost nothing. I dreaded cracking open each chapter. Disappointing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    It’s about the Arab Spring of the first half of the 2010’s. The Epilogue was good. Most of the book is in par with the reporting of the New York Times on the same subject and time frame. It’s ok.....

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Lange

    Pretty dense, this took me forever to get through. I liked having an explanation for the turmoil in the Middle East, but I don't think this book was for me. Pretty dense, this took me forever to get through. I liked having an explanation for the turmoil in the Middle East, but I don't think this book was for me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy O

    Amazing writing. A brief sociopolitical history as told through individual narratives that capture both the complexity and humanity of the Arab Spring

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chan Save

    Very informative read about the Arab Spring how, why , what and what next. Definite must read for history readers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    A Rage for Order is an excellent book that provides the background story of why the Arab Spring happened and what happened after. The human side of Arab Spring and the path to ISIS was a revealing, touching, disturbing, and ultimately depressing view of the Arab world since 2010. Robert Worth was there in Tahrir Square when the first wave of the uprising against Mubarek's regime happened. He follows a doctor,Muhammed Beltagy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as he tries to convince the Brother A Rage for Order is an excellent book that provides the background story of why the Arab Spring happened and what happened after. The human side of Arab Spring and the path to ISIS was a revealing, touching, disturbing, and ultimately depressing view of the Arab world since 2010. Robert Worth was there in Tahrir Square when the first wave of the uprising against Mubarek's regime happened. He follows a doctor,Muhammed Beltagy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as he tries to convince the Brotherhood that the way they were handling the crisis was wrong. He seems to be everywhere in the years following – with two women friends in Syria, a freedom fighter in Yemen and another in Libya, and two elder statesmen on both sides of the Arab world in Tunisia. Through his interviews with these people, I learned about how their lives had been affected by the great events happening in their countries. The book is in two sections. I read the first chapter about Egypt, and skipped immediately to the chapter about Egypt in the second section. Then I went back and read the rest of the first and second sections. Worth’s writing is beautiful, touching. I cry for these people and repel in horror from the cruelty and violence. This is a world I had never imagined and it will haunt me for a long time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    This is one of the most important and relevant books of this year. The author spent 14 years as a correspondent for the NY Times and was the paper's Beirut bureau chief from 2007 to 2011. This was a beautifully written book about the turmoil that was, is and will probably always be, the Middle East. In this short, yet powerful book, Worth brings to life what is happening through through interviews with individuals, both he famous and newsworthy as well as normal, everyday Arabs. He starts with t This is one of the most important and relevant books of this year. The author spent 14 years as a correspondent for the NY Times and was the paper's Beirut bureau chief from 2007 to 2011. This was a beautifully written book about the turmoil that was, is and will probably always be, the Middle East. In this short, yet powerful book, Worth brings to life what is happening through through interviews with individuals, both he famous and newsworthy as well as normal, everyday Arabs. He starts with the optimism of what was called the Arab Spring, starting back in 2011 from Egypt to Yemen. He ends with the current despair there. Through interviews he brings to life the feelings of hope that the Arab Spring brought on to the anger when people realized that dictatorships were being replaced by more dictatorships and finally to the discord and hopelessness that exists today due to the rise of groups like ISIS. This is a must read to understand what is going now in the Middle East. I must say that as compelling as this book was to read, I also found it quite depressing. I don't see how there can ever be peace in the Middle East, with all these factions, sects, religions and tribes that have been waging wars for centuries. I hope I am mistaken in my pessisism, for the sake of those trying to survive in that war torn part of the world, as well as for all the rest of us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vinay Badri

    The summer of discontent that gripped a whole bunch of Arab nations is examined here in brief but from a different level, a more ground level view that takes a hard look at the people in the thick of things, their passion, their mistakes, their fears and ultimately their regrets. What the book also does a bit differently compared to some of the others in this field is to spend time looking at the consequences of the so called revolutions and ultimately link it to the rise of ISIS. Robert Worth br The summer of discontent that gripped a whole bunch of Arab nations is examined here in brief but from a different level, a more ground level view that takes a hard look at the people in the thick of things, their passion, their mistakes, their fears and ultimately their regrets. What the book also does a bit differently compared to some of the others in this field is to spend time looking at the consequences of the so called revolutions and ultimately link it to the rise of ISIS. Robert Worth brings to life the effects that religion has with respect to nation building. For all the talk of keeping religion out of politics, its a difficult beast to manage when religion is so tightly woven into the fabric of nations. Ultimately it requires individuals willing to hold the nation dear than power to drive that change. A fact that most of these countries now rue as they grapple with the consequences, especially as ISIS rears its ugly head. In-depth reporting, fantastic storytelling and incisive commentary, this is a must read for everyone (incl Trump :P)

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    I found my way to this book by way of a thoroughly positive review in the New York Times Book Review. I have to admit that I didn't care for the first chapter and wasn't sure I wanted to read the rest of the book, but I'm very glad I stayed with it because it got better and better as it went along. I would have rated this 5 stars if the opening chapter had been more engaging. The backbone of the book is Worth's experience with a variety of people he meets along the way (between 2011 and 2015) in I found my way to this book by way of a thoroughly positive review in the New York Times Book Review. I have to admit that I didn't care for the first chapter and wasn't sure I wanted to read the rest of the book, but I'm very glad I stayed with it because it got better and better as it went along. I would have rated this 5 stars if the opening chapter had been more engaging. The backbone of the book is Worth's experience with a variety of people he meets along the way (between 2011 and 2015) in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Tunisia. The book's great strength is in Worth's ability to tell their stories while carefully weaving in background history and his analysis of modern events. The writing is first rate and I highlighted many passages. This is a book I would definitely read again and I have a feeling it'll be even better the second time around.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara-Ellen

    I have been on a quest to understand the events of the Middle East that are so impacting our world. This book presents the lead up to the Arab Spring in several countries and goes through the event in each one. I was able to follow the events in the countries I am more familiar with like Egypt and Syria. I didn't know anything about what has been happening in Yemen and do now. It was harder to follow the events portrayed in Tunisia because I don't have a familiarity with any of the players or gr I have been on a quest to understand the events of the Middle East that are so impacting our world. This book presents the lead up to the Arab Spring in several countries and goes through the event in each one. I was able to follow the events in the countries I am more familiar with like Egypt and Syria. I didn't know anything about what has been happening in Yemen and do now. It was harder to follow the events portrayed in Tunisia because I don't have a familiarity with any of the players or groups. Interestingly, the one place where the spring has been more successful-or at least was when this was written-is Tunisia. I am building a broader understanding of the world around me so that I can help others understand so that, hopefully, the next generation coming onto the scene can work toward solutions that will move us all toward a more peaceful future world.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Taymour Siddiqui

    Worth focuses on a few different countries: Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Tunsia and how the Arab Spring and disrest unfolds in each of these through stories of people in these countries affected. The focus on explaining Arab Spring through personal stories is very powerful and can add a lot of depth to anybodies understanding. However, I do agree with another review that there is western slant/bias or bias against religion, which is to be expected. It is subtle but noticeable to me. One exampl Worth focuses on a few different countries: Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Tunsia and how the Arab Spring and disrest unfolds in each of these through stories of people in these countries affected. The focus on explaining Arab Spring through personal stories is very powerful and can add a lot of depth to anybodies understanding. However, I do agree with another review that there is western slant/bias or bias against religion, which is to be expected. It is subtle but noticeable to me. One example of this is when he speaks of violence done by Muslim Brotherhood Islamists, he would refer to it as terrorism but not when the new secular government committed an atrocity.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ris

    I really wasn't a fan of this book. I liked the premise of it, and I liked the stories--but they were too thick with his opinions of the stories. He didn't just narrate, he applied a western lens to them. His bias was blatant from the introduction, and the stories were filtered through his feelings and reactions to to the storytellers. There's some interesting stuff here, if you're willing to sift. I really wasn't a fan of this book. I liked the premise of it, and I liked the stories--but they were too thick with his opinions of the stories. He didn't just narrate, he applied a western lens to them. His bias was blatant from the introduction, and the stories were filtered through his feelings and reactions to to the storytellers. There's some interesting stuff here, if you're willing to sift.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rolf Kirby

    A very informative book on recent events in the Middle East, with compelling stories of people caught up in the change / chaos, from Syria to Cairo to Libya to Tunisia to Yemen. The author is a journalist with long service in the region. He lets the people speak for themselves and their own experiences. Goodreads describes the book thusly: The definitive work of literary journalism on the Arab Spring and its troubled aftermath and it is hard to improve on that line. Highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    I expected this book to be informative, but I was amazed by how beautifully-written it is. It's a rare book indeed that increases one's understanding of and empathy for those who join the ranks of ISIS without shying away from the group's atrocities. A Rage for Order struck me as an honest reckoning of the Arab Spring and those caught up in it. Full of humanity, yet never patronizing. I highly recommend it. I expected this book to be informative, but I was amazed by how beautifully-written it is. It's a rare book indeed that increases one's understanding of and empathy for those who join the ranks of ISIS without shying away from the group's atrocities. A Rage for Order struck me as an honest reckoning of the Arab Spring and those caught up in it. Full of humanity, yet never patronizing. I highly recommend it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Fascinating & Depressing How will the Arabs ever be able to reconcile tribalism and religion and living in peace with themselves and the rest of the world. Islamists may win a war but they will never be at peace!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Greenlight Moms Book Club

    It probably would have been better if more of us finished the book ...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This is an incredibly insightful book on the Arab Spring and the subsequent rise of extremism and tyranny as the uprising’s aftermath. The author is a journalist who has spent considerable time in the Middle East both before, during and after the Arab Spring which contributed to the author’s experience and knowledge of things before and after the Arab Spring. For those who are curious about the Middle East and want to understand more of the current events in that region this book should be on th This is an incredibly insightful book on the Arab Spring and the subsequent rise of extremism and tyranny as the uprising’s aftermath. The author is a journalist who has spent considerable time in the Middle East both before, during and after the Arab Spring which contributed to the author’s experience and knowledge of things before and after the Arab Spring. For those who are curious about the Middle East and want to understand more of the current events in that region this book should be on the top of one’s list. The book is divided into two parts with the first titled “Revolts” and the second part titled “Restorations.” Arab Spring began in 2011 with the unprecedented phenomenon of one country after another in the Middle East experiencing ongoing protests by the people standing up to their government and finally the old regime being replaced. Often the old regime were tyrants who oppressed the people with harsh rules, secret police, corruption and economic decay. The author did a good job in the four chapters under part one of describing the problems before the revolt and also the ecstatic and unbelievable experience of all kinds of people from all walks of life joining together to call for change. I appreciated the book making the point of how radical that was in the Middle East for this to happen in light of the history of Arab states in the Middle East for the last few decades. I also thought the author’s intention of capturing the people’s view who led the revolt was very insightful. So many times we can have many talking head experts about the Middle East without having interacted with the actual people making history. I learned a lot about how non-monolithic those protesting were and even how there were unlikely allies. I was amazed at the author’s experience and depth of covering not just one country but four that went through Arab Spring: Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. These countries aren’t necessarily all neighbors either. I think this book would be the most comprehensive for some time given the way the Middle East is currently. The saddest part of the book of course is found in part two which covers the aftermath after the revolts began. Reading this made me think about how many of the countries parallel the French Revolution with its aftermath. Egypt for instance ended up having the original government that was voted into office forcibly removed by the military. The tension between those who are more Islamists and those who want secularized democracy is a theme not only with Egypt but also Tunisia and Syria. I learned a lot from this book things I did not know before. For instance I didn’t really understand what Alawites were other than hearing that they were a kind of Shiite group. They were a lot more non-traditional in their profession of Islam with their Gnostic tendencies, its beliefs in reincarnation, etc. I also thought it was so weird to read of the author’s trip to Syria and seeing areas where there shopping malls like nothing ever happened though of course it was far from front. It is interesting to see how other Arabs view Alawites. I also learned from the book just how different Yemen is compared to the rest of the Middle East. I had the idea previously that it was quite isolated but the journalist account of meeting people who protested against “the Sheikh” who rule over large areas of Yemen made me felt that Yemen was a Feudal state. But the author pointed out it was worse than any previous Islamic feudal order in that there is more tyranny without the typical vassal to peasant responsibility in traditional Sheikh rule. I also thought the interview the author conducted with former ISIS fighters who were disillusioned were also eye opening. Fascinating yet heartbreaking. Intriguing yet depressing. Informative without it being dull. I recommend this work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    aneez

    The book uses stories of some individuals caught up in "Arab Spring" to describe their initial hopes and later despair. The stories depict the yearning for modern principled "dawla" (state) and how this dream failed to materialize. I feel the author tries to reason the rise of the so called "Islamic State" is mostly due to the failure of this dream. It is not total doom and gloom though, the author does paint a mostly positive picture of the Tunisian democratic transition. The choice of the indiv The book uses stories of some individuals caught up in "Arab Spring" to describe their initial hopes and later despair. The stories depict the yearning for modern principled "dawla" (state) and how this dream failed to materialize. I feel the author tries to reason the rise of the so called "Islamic State" is mostly due to the failure of this dream. It is not total doom and gloom though, the author does paint a mostly positive picture of the Tunisian democratic transition. The choice of the individuals to depict this dream and despair is remarkable. In Egypt, it is a muslim brotherhood member who goes against edicts of the higher ups to build bridges with liberals. However the common cause with liberals fails, military captures power, his daughter is murdered during protests by sniper and he ends up in prison with 20 year sentence. In Libya, it is a brother who wants justice not revenge for his murdered brother. Though he holds his brothers murderer, he hands them over to "government" but later comes know that he is released given a gun to join militia. In Syria it is two friends, whose friendship is destroyed by the civil war there. In Yemen, it is a activist who sacrifices his family life and lives in a rundown tent struggling against government for decades. This struggle comes to naught as the protests too is caught up the destructive Iran-Saudi currents. The author makes some insightful remarks 1) Thought the arab spring began in Tunisia, Tahrir is what really filled the entire region with hope. 2) Libya is never a country 3) Some Islamic state deserters still love the idea of an "Islamic state". 4) A significant population Syrian Arab refugees would rather live under so called "Islamic-state" than in reborn Kurdistan. 5) Not all Islamists are homophobic. The leader of Tunisian Islamic movement stated that homosexuality is a "private affair." 6) The real movers behind the democratic transition in Tunisia as Rached Ghannouchi and Beji Caid Essebsi, though Tunisian national dialogue got the Nobel peace prize 7) Dictators and strongmen use the threat of terrorism to gain support and amass wealth. In Syria, Assad released number of violent religious elements to discredit the opposition. In Yemen, Saleh used threat of Al-Qaeda to amass huge fortune via western anti-terrorism funds What I did not like about the book. The author is derisive about Al-Jazeera in different places, but never fully motivates the reason for holding the service at low esteem. Another big fail was when he wonders whether Beltagy will be more forthright with him if he was a Muslim. But, the whole book is about conflicts within Islamic world where being a Muslim is definitely not enough one needs to subscribe to their version of Islam.

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