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The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria / Edition 1

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2005 Hard cover No dust jacket o/w absolutely brand new (never opened)-No international shipping avaialbe Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 288 p. Contains: ... Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Is Syria a rogue state? How important is it to the fates of Iraq, Iran, Israel, and Lebanon? Based on unique and extraordinary access to Syria’s President Bashar al-Asad, his circle, and his family, this book tells Syria’s inside story. David W. Lesch presents the essential account of this country and its enigmatic leader at a critical juncture in the history of the Middle East.

Syria has been called the crossroads of civilization for millennia. Lately, however, it is a nation more in the crosshairs than the crossroads. From the U.S. perspective, Syria is on the wrong side of history with respect to Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, the global war on terrorism, and the growth of democracy in the Middle East. Bashar al-Asad assumed the presidency in 2000 after the long reign of his father, Hafiz al-Asad, and soon encountered momentous regional and international events. Bashar’s efforts to integrate his country into this changing environment without being coerced have met with some success and some failure. The fate of Syria, very much tied to its young ophthalmologist-turned-president, will profoundly affect what type of Middle East emerges in the near future.

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Editorial Reviews

James L. Gelvin
"Having gained unprecedented access to the current president of Syria, the author has produced an extraordinarily readable and timely account deserving of a wide audience. Dr. Lesch is to be commended for doing for Bashar al-Asad what Patrick Seale did so well for his father."—James L. Gelvin, Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles
Robert O. Freedman
“A first-rate analysis of the domestic and foreign policy challenges facing the Bashar Asad regime, and Asad’s mixed record in meeting these challenges.”—Robert O. Freedman, Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science, Baltimore Hebrew University
H-Net Reviews - Curtis Ryan
". . . a very well-written book . . . flows easily for the reader . . . useful not just for scholars and policymakers . . . but also for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. . . . the book is sure to generate lively debate."—Curtis Ryan, H-Net Reviews
Foreign Affairs
Three years ago, Lesch raised the possibility of "writing a book about Bashar and modern Syria" with some highly placed Syrian friends. After a two-year wait, he got the green light he needed: Bashar al-Assad would see him. Using several interviews with the Syrian president and other officials, conducted in May and June 2004 and in May 2005, as well as his knowledge of U.S.-Syrian relations, Lesch has produced both a biography and a political and diplomatic history of Syria under the Assads. His approach is mostly topical, with separate chapters on U.S.-Syrian relations (a subject that inevitably intrudes throughout the book), Syria and Israel, and efforts at domestic reform and modernization. There is also a chapter intriguingly entitled "Syria Is Not Iraq." Lesch makes himself part of the story, facing up to the fact that Assad and the Syrians surely gave him access in the hope of a favorable account. He diligently presents different possible interpretations of Syria's actions and policies, but Assad must in the end feel satisfied that he agreed to be interviewed: this is a nuanced and favorable picture of Syria's president, although less so of the regime over which he presides.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300109917
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

David W. Lesch is professor at Trinity University in Texas and an expert on Middle Eastern studies. His many books include The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi
Preface vii
Note on the Text xiii
1 Two Phone Calls 1
2 The Asads of Syria 5
3 Syria in the Middle East 20
4 From Eye Doctor to Heir Apparent 57
5 Seasons in Damascus 81
6 The "Rogue State" and the United States 98
7 A "Strategic Choice for Peace" 144
8 Syria is Not Iraq 176
9 "The raw material is the brain" 198
10 The Man 229
Appendix 244
Notes 246
Select Bibliography 274
Index 277
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A bit of an exaggeration!!!,

    Perhaps the author should have also made references to these 'somber' historical facts: <BR/><BR/>Israel invaded Egypt in 1956 and made rapid progress across the Sinai Peninsula towards the Canal Zone in less than one week. (There are many literatures that speak of three days.) <BR/><BR/>Israel defeated four armies in 1967 (third Arab Israeli War) also known as Six Day's war. <BR/><BR/>The Fourth Arab Israeli War - Yom Kippur War in 1973 - Israel fought a coalition of Arab Nations led by Egypt and Syria and defeated them in ten days.(Despite the political acrimonies that portrayed Sadat (another Lion!!!) 'triumphant'). <BR/><BR/>The Golan Height is still under Israel's flag. (Right!?) <BR/><BR/>However, why the legend "Lion" has been restricted to Damascus? <BR/>Why the book was not entitled "The New Lion of Syria.....??? <BR/><BR/>Can Mr.Lesch give us an explanation?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    Thisd book was great. It wasnt an appology and it wasnt an attack. The writter was objective as one could be, and the sources are great. Good read and source of information to better understand the complexities faced in Syria at the present time.

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