The Arab Spring: Rebellion, revolution, and a new world order by Toby Manhire (editor)
|The Arab Spring: Rebellion, revolution, and a new world order by Toby Manhire (editor)|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Some in depth analysis of the Arab Spring can be found here, with some excellent articles. Unfortunately, most of the book is given to a live blog which is rather less worthwhile.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: February 2012|
|Publisher: Guardian Books|
|External links: Manhire Author's website|
A Tunisian man, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire on 17th December 2010, in what appeared at the time to be a desperate gesture showing a complete lack of hope after his humiliation by a municipal official. What followed was one of the most remarkable events of recent years, as a wave of revolutions occured in what became known as the Arab Spring. As you'd expect from a top nwespaper, the Guardian had reporters, bloggers and columnists covering it all, and Toby Manhire provides a compilation of the paper's output here.
As someone who loves reading about current affairs and enjoys the Guardian as a newspaper, I was really keen on reading this one. I have to say, though, I felt slightly let down by it. Perhaps it's because I remember most of the events fairly clearly as they happened, but the first two thirds or so of the book, which consist mainly of an edited form of the live blog updates, did little to capture my interest. It seemed to provide little that was new to me, and didn't have enough comments to make it particularly worthwhile reading. The last third or so, which consisted of opinion columns and essays, is far better, and I found some of them fascinating. Particularly of note is Ahdaf Soueif's piece on the Egyptian regime's tactics of trying to humiliate female protesters, and the protesters' refusal to be cowed, along with George Monbiot's thought-provoking column on the difficulties in deciding whether economic sanctions against Syria would be appropriate. I genuinely felt that I learnt a huge amount from reading some of these columns, and would have welcomed more of them and rather less of the somewhat tedious live blog.
Overall, though, it was slightly too uneven to capture my attention as much as I would have expected it to. Mild recommendation for the final third.
For another book looking at recent events, we were extremely impressed by Out of the Ashes: Britain After the Riots by David Lammy.
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