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Revolt in Syria
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About the Author

Stephen Starr is a freelance Irish journalist who has been reporting from Damascus since 2007. He covered the Syrian uprising for some of the world's leading newspapers and his work has been published in The Washington Post, Financial Times, The Times and Sunday Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Irish Times. He is also the founder and editor-inchief of Near East Quarterly.

Reviews

'This searching inquiry is painful reading, but urgent for those who hope to understand what lies behind the shocking events in Syria, what the prospects might be, and what outsiders can - and cannot - do to mitigate the immense suffering as a country so rich in history and promise careens towards disaster.' - Noam Chomsky 'Vivid, thought-provoking and sometimes shocking - has great value, not least because it challenges some of the simple certainties that have characterised coverage of the Syrian uprising. - Starr captures the pain of a deeply torn society in the throes of a bitter struggle, one that has estranged brother from brother, friend from friend.' - The Economist 'Stephen Starr had a unique vantage point as Syria's revolution unfolded. Written with insight and verve, his book is essential reading for anybody interested in Syria.' - Fergal Keane, author and BBC journalist 'In Revolt in Syria, Stephen Starr has taken on the mammoth task of elucidating this confusing country. After four years in Syria he has some insight. - He presents a very readable account of the chaos and confusion in Syrian towns and neighbourhoods. - The general conclusion is than no one in Syria knows what is going on - It is therefore a strange kind of enlightenment that this book offers, but probably an accurate one.' - Times Literary Supplement 'Starr's book is the only account that gives previously unheard voices a chance to be heard. - his familiarity with the sectarian and political milieu in Syria is better than anyone I know. He has spent five years in the country, marrying into Syrian society - if there is one Irishman that the Syrians would describe as muta'rrib, "Arabicised", it is him. - Through a series of vignettes and anecdotes, Starr provides us with a plethora of voices from minorities: Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Palestinians, pro-regime and anti regime Syrians. - The book is a witness to a dilapidated regime [and] Starr captures it all brilliantly.' - New Statesman 'Revolt is a must-read for anyone interested in the causes and course of the Syrian uprising. Stephen Starr plums the religious and class divisions of Syria with a keen eye for personal anecdote and broad truths. What is more, he entertains as he instructs; his prose is lively and his conversations are filled with insight and startling revelations. He records his discussion with a broad spectrum of Syrians, both famous and unknown. Having spent five years working in Syria as a reporter, Starr gets below the surface of this country where people so often speak in half-truths and use misdirection as the first line of defense. Starr knows the corruption and immobility of Syria's state institutions, having worked as an editor of Syria's only state-run English language paper. But he also understands why so many Syrians cling to these same institutions for stability and jobs in a region troubled by so many failed states. Starr is a deft guide to Syria in the midst of revolution.' - Joshua M. Landis, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma, and author of Syria Comment 'Stephen Starr's four year stay in Syria as a sharp-eyed freelance journalist has given him unusual assets - an uncommon knowledge of daily life in Damascus; an understanding of the ills of Syrian society; an extensive network of friends from different communities; and a sympathetic insight into divided loyalties as the country slides ever closer to civil war.' - Patrick Seale, author of Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East; and The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East. 'A brave account - There is huge value in the thoughts and stories of someone who has been in Syria for four years rather than the instant impressions of shorter and more controlled trips. - Revolt is far more than a simple focus on the clash between the regime and the protestors, it explores, from a non-academic perspective, the fundamental debates that define modern Syria, from dichotomies of state and society, urban and rural, rich and poor, ethnic and sectarianism which all contribute towards an overall narrative of suppressed discontent which is essential for understanding what fuelled anger in the first place. - An important contribution to this hugely stifled subject.' - James Denselow, Huffington Post UK 'Revolt is a brave account written by someone who knows Syria and has been there since long before the outbreak of protests and violence in March 2011. - The book provides a nuanced look into the protest movements and how they spread. - Far more than a simple focus on the clash between the regime and the protestors, the book explores, from a non-academic perspective, the fundamental debates that define modern Syria, from dichotomies of state and society, urban and rural, rich and poor, ethnic and sectarianism which all contribute towards an overall narrative of suppressed discontent which is essential for understanding what fuelled anger in the first place. - Starr's analysis of the workings of the regime and the demands and divisions in Syrian society demonstrate an excellent knowledge of the country, which combines to create a rare and thorough eyewitness perspective of the events of the past year.' - John Calvert, Associate Professor of History at Creighton University and author of Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism 'A complex, nuanced and even-handed account that avoids the simplicities of much of the analysis of the Arab Spring. - At its core is an extraordinarily wide-ranging set of interviews with Syrians of all political and religious persuasions, from those who actively support the regime, to those who oppose it by a variety of means, to the very many in between who long for something better than the political repression and economic stagnation that Assad's rule offers but who fear what might happen should he be overthrown. - Anyone interested in the complex realities that underpin the conflict in Syria should be grateful that he took the risks that he did in order to produce this impressive and insightful eye-witness account.' - Irish Times 'Revolt in Syria is a testament to the need for ground reporting. - [Starr] provides those knowledgeable of Syria with familiar and refreshing antidotes to mainstream coverage of the conflict. For those less familiar, [his book] is essential reading to gather a deeper understanding of how Damascus ticks, and why it matters.' - The Daily Star, Lebanon

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