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

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A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS Middle Eastern
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" 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 Libyanrebel 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. "--

Editorial Reviews

How the Arab Spring, begun in hope, has resulted in despair. In his debut book, Worth, former chief of the New York Times Beirut bureau, draws on his intimate knowledge of the Middle East to offer a penetrating, unsettling analysis. The protests that marked the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in January 2011; within two weeks, Egypt followed, when thousands surged into Tahrir Square chanting for an end to corruption, abuse, and repression. Outbursts in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria ensued, portending sweeping changes in the region. But those changes were far from what the protesters intended. As the author has seen, "the demands for dignity and civic rights have been transformed into conflicts that loosened the very building blocks of social and political belonging." The Arab Spring "was not so much a beginning as an end." Country by country, Worth traces the genesis and aftermath of the protests: new regimes, one after another, enacted fatal mistakes in government; internal rivalries undermined unity; and Islamist extremists gained increasing power over a desperate population. Repeatedly, the author reports, the ousting of repressive governments and "the loosening of state authority" gave rise to civil wars: "People who had trusted each other for decades now saw barriers rising between them. The world was suddenly full of threats to all that was sacred: to the state, to your clan, to God." Fueling the wars was a "virus of religious hatred" that attracted zealots on all sides. Many joined the Islamic State group, whose propaganda—90,000 messages per day on social media in 2014—inspired in some a sense of patriotism and purpose. Among the original protestors in the Arab Spring, many were jailed, renounced politics, or ended up depressed. Worth found one who joined the Islamic State group and died in a suicide bombing. Informing the vivid narrative are many revealing interviews as well as the author's own eyewitness accounts of events. A crucial portrait of a deeply troubled region. Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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