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In an engaging question-and-answer format, The Arab Uprisings explores all aspects of the revolutionary protests that have ...
In an engaging question-and-answer format, The Arab Uprisings explores all aspects of the revolutionary protests that have rocked the Middle East. Historian James Gelvin begins with an overview--What sparked the Arab uprisings? Where did the demands for democracy and human rights come from? How appropriate is the phrase "Arab Spring"?--before turning to specific countries around the region. He looks at such topics as the role of youth, labor, and religious groups in Tunisia and Egypt and discusses why the military turned against rulers in both countries. Exploring the uprisings in Libya and Yemen, Gelvin explains why these two states are considered "weak," why that status is important for understanding the upheavals there, and why outside powers intervened in Libya but not in Yemen. Next, Gelvin compares two cases that defied expectations: Algeria, which experts assumed would experience a major upheaval after Egypt's, and Syria, which experts failed to foresee. He then looks at the monarchies of Morocco, Jordan, and the Gulf, exploring the commonalities and differences of protest movements in each. The final chapter discusses the implications of the uprisings. What do they mean for the United States? For Iran? Has al-Qaeda been strengthened or weakened? What effects have the uprisings had on the Israel-Palestine conflict? What conclusions might we draw from the uprisings so far?
For anyone wishing to understand the dramatic events in the Middle East, The Arab Uprisings is the place to turn.
"A remarkably readable, informative, slim volume...Of particular worth is James Gelvin's ability to show how the protests are interlinked, yet also independent of each other. Brief forays into the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the current state of al-Qaeda are also illuminating...an excellent primer for the general reader." --Publishers Weekly
"This impressive achievement brings together a vast amount of information in a lucid manner. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"A solid primer on the Arab Spring...[Gelvin's] background on the Arab world will certainly help non-experts better understand the region...A useful attempt to understand a still-unfolding story." --Kirkus Reviews
"Highly recommended...Gelvin's claim to provide "what everyone needs to know" does not unduly exaggerate the usefulness of the book for students and other nonspecialists. Even specialists in contemporary Arab affairs will benefit in some ways, notably by using it as a model in their own teaching and general writings." --CHOICE
"James Gelvin has throughout his career explained to us the role of popular demonstrations and symbolic action in the modern Middle East. There could be few more expert guides for the public to the remarkable Arab uprisings of 2011. Gelvin avoids easy answers for the hard one, and never prefers simple theory to complex realities." --Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan
Chapter 1: A Revolutionary Wave?
What is the Arab world?
How homogeneous is the Arab world?
Why do Arabs identify with one another?
What was political life in the Arab world like on the eve of the uprisings?
Why have authoritarian governments been so common in the Arab world?
What made entrenched autocracies vulnerable?
Can we pinpoint the factors that caused the uprisings?
What sparked the Arab uprisings?
Where did the demands for democracy and human rights come from?
How appropriate is the word "wave" to describe the spread of protests throughout the Arab world?
Where did the phrase "Arab Spring" come from and how appropriate is it to describe events in the Arab world?
Chapter 2: The Beginning: Tunisia and Egypt
What characteristics do Tunisia and Egypt hold in common?
How did the Tunisian uprising play out?
Was the uprising in Egypt like that of Tunisia?
What did protest leaders in Egypt learn from earlier protests?
Why was one of the groups that organized the 25 January protests called "We are all Khaled Said"?
What was the role of social media in the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings?
Who led the Egyptian uprising?
Why did the Tahrir protesters and others adopt the tactic of nonviolent resistance?
What was the role of labor in the two uprisings?
What was the role of Islamic groups in the two uprisings?
Why did the army in Tunisia and Egypt refuse to put down the uprisings?
What changes did the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt bring about?
What are the 10 greatest myths about the Egyptian uprising?
Chapter 3: Uprisings in Weak States: Yemen and Libya
What were the political systems of Yemen and Libya like before the uprisings?
Why do political scientists consider Yemen and Libya "weak states"
Why is the fact that Yemen and Libya are weak states important for understanding the uprisings there?
What role have tribes played in Yemen and Libya?
How did the uprising in Yemen evolve?
How did the uprising in Libya begin?
Is Qaddafi crazy, or crazy like a fox?
Why did the uprisings in Yemen and Libya turn violent?
Who are the "rebels" in Libya?
Why did outside powers intervene directly in Libya and not in Yemen?
What is R2P?
Why is al-Qaeda in Yemen?
What are the fissures in Yemen and Libya that might divide the state in the future?
Chapter 4: Two Surprises: Algeria and Syria
Why did events in Algeria and Syria surprise most experts?
Why did observers believe that after Tunisia, Algeria would be next?
What were the Algerian protests of early 2011 like?
Why did the results of the uprising in Algeria differ from those in Tunisia or Egypt?
Did Algeria ever experience a pro-democracy uprising?
Why was the Syrian uprising surprising?
How did the uprising in Syria begin?
How has the Syrian regime responded to the uprising?
What made the Syrian regime vulnerable?
What has made the Syrian regime so resilient?
Who is the opposition in Syria?
Why have foreign powers treated Bashar al-Assad with kid gloves?
What would happen to the Syrian alliance with Iran should Bashar al-Assad's regime fall?
Chapter 5: The Monarchies
Why are there so many monarchies in the Arab world?
How do the monarchies in the Arab world differ?
What were the Winter/Spring 2011 protests in the Arab monarchies like?
How did the uprising in Bahrain differ from uprisings in other monarchies?
How have the uprisings transformed the GCC?
What might Bahrain's experience with a "national dialogue" tell us about future national dialogues in the Arab world?
Chapter 6: Stepping Back
How did the uprisings connect to the George W. Bush's "freedom agenda"?
How did the United States come up with its policy toward the uprisings?
What ever happened to Iraq?
Have the uprisings strengthened or weakened al-Qaeda?
What effects have the uprisings had on the Israel-Palestine conflict?
How has Iran greeted the uprisings?
What can history tell us about "revolutionary waves?"
When will we be able to judge the significance of the Arab uprisings?
What conclusions might we draw from the uprisings so far?
Suggestions for Further Reading
Posted July 13, 2012
I picked this book up in the local B & N, having read another book by the author and being interested in the topic. It's hard to exaggerate how great this book is. Written in a q & a format and conversational style, the author discusses what all the uprisings have in common, how they differ, why they occurred, their possible effects on the world, and how to look at them. He is funny (one of his questions is "Was Qaddafi crazy, or crazy like a fox?) and, at times, touching (just read his dedication or the story of the Syrian boy Hamza al-Khatib). While he teaches at UCLA, he does not talk down to the reader, nor does he oversell or undersell the revolts. For Gelvin, it was not all about social networking young people and peaceful resistance, but it was not about Islamic wolves in sheep's clothing either. He strikes a balance, unlike many of the breathless media accounts I've read on both sides. Verdict: The best book I have read all year and I strongly recommend it. Five stars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.