Based on firsthand reporting from Syria and throughout the Middle East, Inside Syria unravels the complex dynamics underlying the Syrian Civil War. Through vivid, on-the-ground accounts and interviews with rebel leaders, regime supporters, and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself, veteran journalist Reese Erlich gives the reader a better understanding of this momentous power struggle and why it matters.
Through his many contacts inside Syria, the author reveals who is supporting Assad and why, describes the agendas of the rebel factions, and depicts in stark terms the dire plight of many ordinary Syrian people caught in the cross fire. Erlich explains how, after colonization by the British and the French and later becoming a focal point of political intrigue by numerous international powers, the region became increasingly volatile and dangerous. He also provides insights into both the past and the present roles of the Kurds, the continuing influence of Iran, and the policies of American administrations that seem interested only in protecting US regional interests, even at the expense of innocent Syrian civilians.
Disturbing, compelling, and enlightening, this timely book--now with a new epilogue with the latest information-- shows not only what is happening inside Syria but why it is so important for the Middle East, the United States, and the world.
Reese Erlich is an award-winning journalist and the author of several books on foreign policy. A full-time freelance journalist and special correspondent, he recently reported for both CBS Radio and GlobalPost from the Kurdish Region of Iraq, interviewing Yazidis and Kurdish peshmerga and analyzing the US bombing campaign. Erlich also reports regularly for National Public Radio and Radio Deutsche Welle. His articles on the Middle East have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Atlantic Online, Foreign Policy, VICE News, and Vanity Fair Online. In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, gave Erlich an Explanatory Journalism Award for his radio documentary titled “Inside the Syrian Uprising.” In 2006 he shared a prestigious Peabody Award. For more information visit www.ReeseErlich.com.
"Erlich…clearly and succinctly explains Syria’s current political and military stalemate in this important, informative, and well researched book.... Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the current turmoil in the Middle East."
—Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
“Reese Erlich takes you Inside Syria with the kind of clarity that only a superb journalist can provide. This book is a tour de force, demolishing clichés and replacing them with realities of what the hell is going on in Syria—and why. The result is a gripping narrative that combines unvarnished history with immediate truth about Syria’s present-day.”
—Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy
“A deeply readable and informative book that is particularly wise about the economic undercurrents beneath what more-superficial writers see merely as political or religious tensions. A fine introduction to one of today’s most terrible tragedies.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars and King Leopold’s Ghost
“The most useful and up-to-date analysis of the complex internal dynamics of Syria today. . . . [It] destroys many of the simplistic stereotypes prevalent in the American conventional wisdom. . . . United States policy makers should view Erlich’s masterful narrative as required reading. Had his book been available before the current violence in Syria erupted, the world might have been much wiser.”
—William O. Beeman, Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota
“Veteran journalist Reese Erlich, who knows Syria well, has written what may be the definitive account thus far of both foreign and domestic factors shaping its descent into fratricidal war. With the inclusion of important historical background, interviews from inside the country, and insights into the motivations of policy makers in Washington and elsewhere, the result is thorough and balanced reporting in which few come out looking good.”
—Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern studies, University of San Francisco
“Erlich . . . has a rare gift for placing the human drama into its larger historical context, deftly introducing the reader to the many worlds that make up Syrian society. . . . Anyone who wants a quick but sophisticated primer on the Syrian Civil War should start here.”
—Joshua Landis, director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma
“Read this book and you will receive an in-depth, objective, and truly fair understanding of what is taking place in the Middle East at this moment. We need Reese Erlich in the mass media.”
—Peter Coyote, actor, author of Sleeping Where I Fall
“Reese Erlich is that increasingly rare specimen: a deeply informed foreign correspondent who immerses himself in the story he is covering. Inside Syria is fascinating and full of insights. That makes it a welcome antidote to the flood of ill-informed blather that has deformed our understanding of this alarming crisis.”
—Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow and All the Shah’s Men