Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect

Reese Erlich. Prometheus Books, $25 (287p) ISBN 978-1-61614-948-2
Erlich (Conversations with Terrorists), a journalist with extensive experience in the Middle East and Syria in particular, clearly and succinctly explains Syria’s current political and military stalemate in this important, informative, and well researched book. Erlich methodically addresses current events: he first describes the history of Syria from WWI to the present; then examines how the “Arab Spring” rebellion evolved from 2011’s peaceful protests to all-out civil war by 2013; and concludes with a systematic analysis of the important internal and external organizations influencing the war. In preparing this book, Erlich interviewed leaders, academic authorities, and ordinary citizens in 11 different countries. Of particular interest are his interviews with Syrian opposition leaders, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and U.S. State Department analysts. His analysis of the rise of the conservative Syrian opposition, which dominated by al-Qaeda-associated organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), is also illuminating, especially given ISIS’s recent aggression in Iraq. Erlich is up front about his left-leaning political views, and he sees the region through that prism, but his insights and conclusions are objective and valuable. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the current turmoil in the Middle East. Agent: Laura Gross, Laura Gross Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014
Release date: 10/07/2014
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