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The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution

The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni RevolutionAuthor: Patrick Cockburn
Publisher: Verso Books
Published Date : 01 January 2015
Paperpack: 192 pages

Review by: Emmanuela Eposti

In the media haze of information and mis-information that proliferates about the conflicts that continue to rage throughout Iraq and Syria, there is one word that has emerged over the past year as a terrifying symptom of the Middle Eastern malaise: "Da'esh". The Arabic term for the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL) that stretches across vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, it is a word that has struck fear into the heart of many, and precipitated a splurge of new reports, articles, books, analyses and lay speculation about the origins of the radical Islamist group and the likely ripple effects of its territorial and ideological takeover of the Middle East.


Inside the Muslim Brotherhood

Author:Hazem Kandil
Publisher:Polity Press
Published Date:21 November 2014
Hardcover:240 pages

Review by Emmanuela Eposti

In the 18 months since the Egyptian army swept (back) into power and forced out elected president Mohammed Morsi, there have been any number of speculations and conjectures as to why such events were able to take place. At the time, many liberals and leftists saw the army as riding a popular wave of anger and disillusionment against the Muslim Brotherhood, while Islamists were shocked and appalled at developments and staged sit-ins and protests to contest their removal from power. In the intervening period, as the military's steely grip tightens around Egyptian society, average Egyptians have found themselves caught in a binary between what they see as two equally unpalatable solutions: military dictatorship or Islamist state. Choose the former, and risk having your rights curtailed under the guise of the security state and being thrown in jail for simply acknowledging the status quo; choose the latter, and face an imposition of sharia law and possible allegations of the thought crime of "insulting Islam".


Revolution Is My Name

Revolution Is My Name Author: Mona Prince
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Published Date : 30 November 2013
Paperback: 200 pages
ISBN: 978-9774166693

Review by Nahrain Al-Mousawi

Considering post-coup Egypt and its series of documented repressions, reading a memoir of the January 25, 2011, Egyptian uprising would seem like a bittersweet retrospective. Now, rampant imprisonment, everyday censorship, the prevalence of corruption and a fraught sense of security have led many to question the trajectory of the revolution itself. But the academic and writer Mona Prince portrays the first 18 days of the revolution with a sense of drama, humour and hope that suggests that the cycle of revolution is open-ended. After all, Prince makes clear that prior to January 25, she herself was unsure of whether Egyptians would start a revolution, and the answer to her question "Are we going to revolt on January 25?" develops into the narrative of her memoir of a revolution whose self-sufficiency, cheer and organisation surprise even her.


Democracy is the Answer: Egypt's Years of Revolution

Democracy is the Answer: Egypt's Years of RevolutionAuthor: Alaa Al-Aswany
Publisher: Gingko Library
Published Date : 25 January 2015
Hardcover: 700 pages
ISBN: 978-1909942714

Review by: Emmanuela Eposti

Alaa Al-Aswany is a controversial figure in Egypt these days. The dentist-cum-author is best known in international circles for his critically acclaimed 2002 novel The Yacoubian Buildingi (later turned into a big-budget film and television series); but in his native country he is adored and derided in equal measure for his support first for the 2011 Revolution and later for the 2013 military intervention that ousted elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi.


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