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Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East
     

Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

4.0 2
by Robin Wright
 

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The transformation of the Middle East is an issue that will absorb-and challenge-the world for generations to come; Dreams and Shadows is the book to read to understand the sweeping political and cultural changes that have occurred in recent decades. Drawing on thirty-five years of reporting in two dozen countries-through wars, revolutions, and uprisings as

Overview

The transformation of the Middle East is an issue that will absorb-and challenge-the world for generations to come; Dreams and Shadows is the book to read to understand the sweeping political and cultural changes that have occurred in recent decades. Drawing on thirty-five years of reporting in two dozen countries-through wars, revolutions, and uprisings as well as the birth of new democracy movements and a new generation of activists-award-winning journalist and Middle East expert Robin Wright has created a masterpiece of the reporter's art and a work of profound and enduring insight into one of the most confounding areas of the world.

Editorial Reviews

Ethan Bronner
Along for the ride, readers are treated to clear and well-rendered accounts of Kefaya, the fledgling Egyptian dissident movement; the history of Iran's quest for nuclear power; the beginnings of Hezbollah; and fascinating tidbits like an early mention of the Kurds as a nation and how the Katyusha rocket, got its name. While this is an engaging tour of a complex area, the problem is that the moment of promise that set Ms. Wright off on her trip—the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon combined with the Iraqi, Palestinian and Egyptian elections all in quick succession—has turned distinctly sour…That said, there is much to be gained from joining her on her trip. In some ways the subsequent failures of reform lend poignancy.
—The New York Times
Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Readers sometimes complain that newspapers print only bad news. Well, Wright is in fact an optimist, and she has done her best to give the good news. She describes the way many brave and decent people are struggling to free their countries from autocracy or worse, and she seeks out "a budding culture of change." In one country after another, men and women want to use economic empowerment and freedom of expression, enhanced by new technology, as the means to political liberation. But she is an honest reporter, and the story that emerges from this book is not quite the one she would like to tell. She cannot conceal the truth that change is slow to come when it comes at all…Robin Wright's book ought to teach our rulers a thing or two, but they often seem quite unteachable.
—The Washington Post
Patrick Cockburn
Wright has long been one of the best-informed American journalists covering the Middle East, and her reputation is borne out here. She is refreshingly skeptical of conventional wisdom about what is happening in the region, and her book will be essential reading for anybody who wants to know where it is heading.
—The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
An astute assessment of the state of the Middle East, by a longtime reporter and observer of the scene. Washington Post foreign-policy correspondent Wright brings some good tidings from the region: "In the early twenty-first century," she writes, "a budding culture of change is...imaginatively challenging the status quo-and even the extremists." Some members of this culture-they've been called the "pyjamahedeen"-blog, write letters to the editor, protest on the street; others exercise subtle resistance, as with the Iranian women who wear their headscarves "precariously at the crown of the head to expose as much of a beautifully coifed hairdo as possible without falling off." Whatever their form of protest, these men and women face much danger as ignorers of fatwas and potential heretics. Wright travels widely across the region to seek out these agents of change, though her profiles often concern those whom they are fighting. One militant, for instance, set the tone of decrying the supposed licentiousness of Western women half a century ago-his acolytes today press the charge, even as their female compatriots flock to see Hollywood movies and dress in Western fashions. That does not dissuade the true believers. As Wright notes, they're still busily seeking to transcend the Arabic world with an Islamic superstate, a caliphate that will rule the whole of humankind-once they settle such pesky problems as whether Sunni or Shia Islam is to prevail, drive America out of Iraq and force women to don the veil. Despite them, and despite the overwhelming view that America will be defeated in Iraq, there is even better news. Wright reports that "the majority of the people in the Middle East still[want] the kind of political change that has swept the rest of the world over the past quarter century."A fine set of dispatches from the front. Agent: Esther Newberg/ICM
From the Publisher
"Fluent and intelligent.... Wright has long been one of the best-informed American journalists covering the Middle East, and her reputation is borne out here." ---The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143114895
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/24/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
1,330,010
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Fluent and intelligent.... Wright has long been one of the best-informed American journalists covering the Middle East, and her reputation is borne out here." —-The New York Times

Meet the Author

Robin Wright, a diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, is the author of The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran and In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade.

Laural Merlington has recorded well over one hundred audiobooks and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards, including one for Never Say Die by Susan Jacoby.

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Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
This book was published in 2008, and yet it foretells the Arab Spring of 2011 clearly. Robin Wright may be the Middle East analyst with the most access-she seems to travel unhindered whenever and wherever she chooses to visit. Wright so clearly loves the Middle East, and Iran in particular, that we begin to love it, too. We especially love the brave men and women who risk their lives to demand a voice, in Iran and Syria for example. The demand for civil rights for blacks, perhaps, is the last time we have seen peaceful resistance and a stand on righteousness in this country. It can be violent, but it is extraordinarily effective. In this book, written for a non-specialist in Middle East politics, Wright introduces us simply, clearly to the major players, excluding Israel. She writes of modern Arab history, beginning with The Palestinians, moving to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Morocco. We are given major, still-relevant events in recent history for each group, and interviews with both government and dissident voices. The lines of dissension couldn't be clearer, and though the Israel/Palestine divide is rarely mentioned after the first sections, this is the context within which all the Middle East labors. Besides that, each country has its own particular geography and political history to enter the equations for peace and stability. A throwing off of long-governing autocrats doesn't seem impossible: Wright makes it seem inevitable. Which makes one wonder, "why can't the leaders see that?" Does she make it too simple for us? Certainly her descriptions make me want to go to the Middle East myself, to see for myself, if only it were that easy. If I have to rely on someone else's interpretation, hers seems as balanced as one can hope for-if she weren't balanced, she wouldn't have the access she exhibits. One reason she knew change was coming and will continue I copy for you here: "Two dynamics will define political change in the NE for years to come. The first is.identity, the accumulative package of family, faith, race, traditions, and ties to a specific piece of land. The second dynamic is.youth and an emerging generation of younger leaders. The young have never been so important: More than seventy percent of the people living in the regions stretching from Tehran to Rabat are under thirty years old." (p. 137) Finally, Wright discusses Iraq, and the American war there. Each sentence reads like another board nailed on the scaffolding of a once great country's demise (ours and theirs). Here Wright tells us what must happen if government change in the Middle East is to succeed: Change in today's Middle East is likely to succeed only when all major players-not just the majority-believe they have a stake in the new order. Rival identities will otherwise derail it. The sense of common nationhood is still too fragile. Suspicions run too deep. ..Iraq is a telling, and tragic precedent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago