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Publisher's Summary

In 2011, many Syrians took to the streets of Damascus to demand the overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad. Today, much of Syria has become a warzone, and many worry that the country is on the brink of collapse.  
Burning Country explores the complicated reality of life in present-day Syria with unprecedented detail and sophistication, drawing on new first-hand testimonies from opposition fighters, exiles lost in an archipelago of refugee camps, and courageous human rights activists. 
Yassin-Kassab and Al-Shami expertly interweave these stories with an incisive analysis of the militarization of the uprising, the rise of the Islamists and sectarian warfare, and the role of Syria’s government in exacerbating the brutalization of the conflict. Through these accounts and a broad range of secondary source material, the authors persuasively argue that the international community has failed in its stated commitments to support the Syrian opposition movements.  
Covering ISIS and Islamism, regional geopolitics, new grassroots revolutionary organizations, and the worst refugee crisis since World War II, Burning Country is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a modern-day political and humanitarian nightmare.  
©2016 Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami (P)2018 Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Theo Horesh on 06-07-18

Definitive Account of the Syrian Revolution

Burning Country has developed something of a reputation among the people in the know about the Syrian Revolution. This is because the authors bring to their work not only the literary talent of novelists and the systemic overview of academics, but also the stunning detail of veteran journalists and the intimate acquaintance with key activists that can only come from dedication to their cause. It is astonishingly well researched, strikingly fair minded, stunningly honest, and brilliantly conceived.

The authors tell the story of an intensely oppressive and in many ways totalitarian regime from which the populace rebelled, first in drips and then in a flood. They recount the countless people whose lives were transformed when they first learned to speak out, the way they built a movement through nonviolent demonstrations, the way they gathered in local coordinating committees and began providing the needs to the people, who were often being starved by regime forces, and the way they turned to military defense and were later often radicalized through the severe trauma they experienced at the hands of the regime.

The authors take readers on the ground but also zoom out, providing a better bird's eye view than any other available on audio. There are other excellent books on the revolution. Wendy Pearlman's, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria, is a literary masterpiece told through the real voices of Syrians themselves, thus taking listeners more deeply into their experience. It is beautiful, moving, and richly informative. Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan's, ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, provides an unusually lucid overview of not just ISIS, but also the crimes of the Assad regime, which are innumerable. It is lucid, thorough, and definitive. Francesco Borri's, Syrian Dust, is an almost hallucinogenic account of frontline reporting. And Janine Di Giovanni's, The Morning They Came for Us, is an intimate journalistic account of the shattering of a nation, told the vantage of an honest and experienced hand.

However, Burning Country will leave you better informed and more capable of making sense of the other accounts, which you should also consider reading. Most people have little idea what is going on in Syria, and there are many writers who play the role of expert, concocting a rancid diet of conspiratorial pablum, leaving readers all the more confused. But a genocide has unfolded in Syria. A clash of imperial powers has occurred there as well between Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and to a much lesser extent America and Britain. Syria provided the vacuum into which Isis would take over and bring their brand of jihadism to a hapless world. And between the torture and barrel bombing of the regime and the post-apocalyptic jihad of Isis, Syria birthed a refugee crisis that has transformed Europe.

I write as a distant friend of one of the authors, who sought him out because of the quality of his work and kept in touch through social media, where he continually displays an intimacy with the conflict second to none. But I also write as a great admirer of great writing in the cause of justice and a more humane world. Burning Country will provide all of this and more. If you have gotten this far in the review, just get it now and join the few who understand Syria intimately.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 06-21-18

Must read/listen

If you are an American empathetic enough to read this book you are on the right track. This book was very factual and concise. Gave me a much better understanding of the United States effects on the Middle East. I understand Assads history much better. This book is great for an in depth understanding of global politics and political history

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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