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Home » Books » Nonfiction » Politics » Freedom & Security » Terrorism

Burning Country

Syrians in Revolution and War

By Robin Yassin-Kassab, Leila Al-Shami

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Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 February 2016
**SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE** 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 where foreign journalists find it almost impossible to report on life in this devastated land. Burning Country explores the horrific and 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 among many others. These stories are expertly interwoven with a trenchant analysis of the brutalisation of the conflict and the militarisation of the uprising, of the rise of the Islamists and sectarian warfare, and the role of governments in Syria and elsewhere in exacerbating those violent processes. With chapters focusing on ISIS and Islamism, regional geopolitics, the new grassroots revolutionary organisations, and the worst refugee crisis since World War Two, Burning Country is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a modern-day political and humanitarian nightmare.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Preface 1. Revolution From Above 2. Bashaar's First Decade 3. Revolution From Below 4. The Grassroots 5. Militarisation and Liberation 6. Scorched Earth - The Rise of the Islamisms 7. Dispossession and Exile 8. Culture Revolutionised 9. The Failure of the Elites 10. The Start of Solidarity Epilogue List of organisations Notes Index

About the Author

Robin Yassin-Kassab is a regular media commentator on Syria and the Middle East. He is the author of the novel The Road from Damascus (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) and a contributor to Syria Speaks (Saqi, 2014). Leila Al-Shami has worked with the human rights movement in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. She was a founding member of Tahrir-ICN, a network that aimed to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.


'The definitive book not only on the continuing Syrian conflict but on the country and its society as a whole. Very few books have been written on `the kingdom of silence' that effectively capture how we all got here while not omitting the human voice, the country's heroes and heroines' -- Hassan Hassan, co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (New York Times bestseller), and Associate Fellow, Chatham House, London 'For decades Syrians have been forbidden from telling their own stories and the story of their country, but here Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami tell the Syrian story' -- Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian writer, intellectual, and former political prisoner 'Full of fascinating details' -- Robyn Cresswell - The New York Review of Books 'Vital' -- Peter Geoghegan - The Herald Scotland 'The most succinct and convincing insider's narrative of the uprising' -- Richard Spencer - Daily Telegraph 'Avoids the easy indulgence of indignation; instead, it elicits the voices of many different Syrians involved in the uprising, acknowledging their suffering as well as their courage, intelligence, and humanity, while explaining the terrible choices that have been forced on them' -- Ursula Lindsey, The Nation 'Explores how Syria's peaceful uprising gave way to armed insurgency and sectarian jihad... This is an important, honest and insightful book, well worth anyone's time' -- Marc Lynch, Washington Post 'A detailed history of Syria's moderate opposition and a meticulous analysis of the origins of today's violent dynamics' -- New Statesman 'Gripping ... Cutting through the fog of geopolitics, [Burning Country] refocuses the conflict with the people at its centre' -- Brian Whitaker, Newsweek 'Extraordinary ... the book on Syria I was waiting for' -- Molly Crabapple, artist, author, journalist

EAN: 9780745336220
ISBN: 0745336221
Publisher: Pluto Press (UK)
Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 1.3 centimetres (0.36 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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