“If you read only one book about the uprisings sweeping the Arab world, it should be this one. Marc Lynch coined the term “the Arab public sphere” a decade before anyone in the West knew it existed and has been an active observer of and participant in it ever since. He chronicles decades of Arab protests, pan-Arabism, and Arab government repression to provide vital context for present events and draws on his deep country-by-country expertise to map future challenges for American foreign policy across the Arab world.”
"The extraordinary events associated with the Arab Spring have produced a chaotic mix of transitioning democracies, reactionary autocracies, and civil strife. But, as Marc Lynch explains in his brilliant new book, The Arab Uprising, regardless of the fate of individual rulers or the course of particular movements, the nature of politics in the Arab world has been forever transformed. A new generation has leveraged 21st-century technologies and tapped into a sense of interconnectedness and common identity to obliterate the old order. Nobody is better suited to navigate the reader through these turbulent waters than Lynch, one of the world's top Middle East scholars and a pioneer in the study of new media and social activism in the Arab world. Lynch has produced the most comprehensive and balanced account yet written of the origins and implications of the changes currently sweeping this vital region. The Arab Uprising promises to remain essential reading on the subject for years to come."
“One of the most profound books about the nature of the transformations under way, of the consciousness of the public squares and the new popular anger in today's Arab world.”
“Of all the books on the extraordinary events of the past 15 months, this is one of the most illuminating and, for policymakers, the most challenging.”
“informed and engaging”
“Lynch has written a clear-eyed, highly readable guide to the forces in the region that gave rise to the Arab uprisings and the very real challenges they present for the U.S. Indispensably, he presents the material in a way that is neither excessively romantic about democracy’s chances nor excessively fearful about the greater role Islamists will no doubt play in a newly empowered Arab public square.”
"[Lynch] who has been following recent events closely...reexamines important precedents in mass uprisings that took place in convulsive waves during the Arab Cold War of the 1950s, and were brutally suppressed....[he] also examines the key role initially played by the Al-Jazeera network in coverage of the Tunisia uprising, keenly watched by the Egyptians in convincing them their own efforts could be successful....A timely survey of complex historical and current events."
“A nuanced, insightful analysis of the Arab insurrections, with ample historical context…. In this thought-provoking book, Lynch earns his right to implore U.S. citizens to trust Middle Eastern countries to reshape their political space.”
“Lynch, a political scientist and advisor to the Obama administration, analyzes the recent and ongoing political changes taking place in the Middle East and ventures some predictions about what may come….Timely, informative, and recommended for current events and regional history collections.”
A Foreign Policy "Book to Read in 2012"
Robin Wright, author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World
"A wonderfully thoughtful book that captures a truly historic juncture in the Arab world. By chronicling the first volatile year of the Arab uprisings, Lynch has provided the essential guide to understanding what happens next - both for the participants living through it and for the anxious outside world surprised by the passions unleashed."
Colin Kahl, Associate Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
George Washington University political scientist Lynch (Voices of the New Arab Public) offers a nuanced, insightful analysis of the Arab insurrections, with ample historical context. Though the book opens with an almost catastrophic dearth of storytelling, Lynch hits his stride as he details Middle Eastern activists’ roles in the uprisings that spread across the region, as well as the fall of three Arab leaders within one year: President Ben Ali of Tunisia, President Hosni Mubarak or Egypt, and Libyan ruler Moammar Qaddafi. Tracing the 2011 protests to the Arab cold war of the 1950s and ’60s, Lynch vigorously warns against the assumption that recent uprisings will yield instant peace. In addition, he persuasively disputes that social media (Twitter, Facebook) catalyzed the protests, claiming instead that they were spurred by a history of political turmoil and aided by Al Jazeera, which has formed a unified Arab voice. Acknowledging that the Obama administration faced a precarious dilemma in choosing whether and when to intervene, Lynch furnishes a shrewd critique of Obama’s quick response in Libya and low profile in the other Arab uprisings, admonishing the administration to deliver on its promises. In this thought-provoking book, Lynch earns his right to implore U.S. citizens to trust Middle Eastern countries to reshape their political space. (Mar.)
A Middle East scholar expertly puts the recent protests in historical context. Lynch (Political Science/George Washington Univ.; Voices of the New Arab Public, 2005, etc.), who has been following recent events closely (he suggests that he may have coined the term "Arab Spring" in a January 2011 article), reexamines important precedents in mass uprisings that took place in convulsive waves during the Arab Cold War of the 1950s, and were brutally suppressed. Before the 1967 Six-Day War ruptured Arab solidarity, the pan-Arab movement instigated by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser pushed for Arab unity, galvanizing mass demonstrations in the streets and helping to destabilize regimes in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria and Tunisia. Yet Arab unity proved intractable, and the region was soon riddled by military coups and divided loyalties between the revolutionary and the counterrevolutionary--the latter being those nations aligned with the West. The result of popular mobilization, Lynch writes, was the establishment of a system of authoritarian controls that paralyzed the Arab populace for the next 40 years and that are only now unraveling: "The tight control over information, careful management of public political opinion, and massive ‘coup-proof' security services were all designed to blunt the power of transnational radical appeals." Moreover, lessons then gained about intervention in regional affairs should also be heeded as today's interested observers--e.g., the United States and Saudi Arabia, among others--choose which nations to back. Lynch also examines the key role initially played by the Al-Jazeera network in coverage of the Tunisia uprising, keenly watched by the Egyptians in convincing them their own efforts could be successful. A timely survey of complex historical and current events.