Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.
With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran’s fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.
Ghattas introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country’s dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Black Wave is both an intimate and sweeping history of the region and will significantly alter perceptions of the Middle East.
This astonishing book by the prize-winning journalist Rania Abouzeid tells the tragedy of the Syrian War through the dramatic stories of four young people seeking safety and freedom in a shattered country. Extending back to the first demonstrations of 2011, No Turning Back dissects the tangle of ideologies and allegiances that make up the Syrian conflict.
As protests ignited in Daraa, some citizens were brimming with a sense of possibility. A privileged young man named Suleiman posted videos of the protests online, full of hope for justice and democracy. A father of two named Mohammad, secretly radicalized and newly released from prison, saw a darker opportunity in the unrest. When violence broke out in Homs, a poet named Abu Azzam became an unlikely commander in a Free Syrian Army militia. The regime's brutal response disrupted a family in Idlib province, where a nine-year-old girl opened the door to a military raid that caused her father to flee.
As the bombings increased and roads grew more dangerous, these people's lives intertwined in unexpected ways. Rania Abouzeid brings readers deep inside Assad's prisons, to covert meetings where foreign states and organizations manipulated the rebels, and to the highest levels of Islamic militancy and the formation of ISIS.
Based on more than five years of clandestine reporting on the front lines, No Turning Back is an utterly engrossing human drama full of vivid, indelible characters that shows how hope can flourish even amid one of the twenty-first century's greatest humanitarian disasters
India is the birthplace of four major religions, a dozen traditions of classical dance, eighty-five political parties, and three hundred ways of cooking the potato. In recent decades, it has grown into a world leader in science and technology, a once-impoverished country that now boasts a middle class of over 300 million people. What do these changes mean for India - politically, economically, culturally?
Tharoor explores India today, a place of tremendous ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity, still troubled by divisions and tensions. What makes a person Indian? What place does religion - or secularism - have in public life? How does a cricket match reflect the tensions between Muslims and Hindus in India?
In this conversational and readable book, Tharoor reflects on Gandhi and Nehru, Bollywood and cricket, the winners and losers in India's growing economy, saris, call centers, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A tour of India for much less than the cost of a plane ticket.
How did one of the world's "buzzy hotspots" (Fodor's 2013) become one of the top ten places to avoid (Fodor's 2018)? Less than a decade ago, the world cheered as a dictatorship crumbled and internationally beloved Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from twenty years of house arrest. Yet just three years after her landslide victory at the polls, the country stands accused of war crimes and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims.
As an historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U was part of the momentous changes that pulled Burma toward democracy, working with the ex-generals and meeting many of the country's biggest supporters, from Bono to Barack Obama. Yet no one was prepared to Burma's underlying challenges, from fast- rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, and the impacts of climate change, to the rise of China next door and the issues of race, religion, and "national identity" deeply rooted in the country's traumatic colonial past.
In this riveting insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, Thant Myint-U shows that Burma's perils, far from being unique, are many of the same facing all of us. Myint-U deftly weaves together nationalism, capitalism, geopolitics, and social media to analyze Burma's past and present. A must-read book, not just for those interested in Burma, but for those interested in broader questions of race, national identity and democracy in our 21st-century world.
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul sees a fortune in the recyclable garbage that rich people throw away. Asha hopes that her sensitive, beautiful daughter will soon become Annawadi's first female college graduate. Even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to good lives and good times.
But Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed, along with the imaginations and courage of the people of Mumbai.
With intelligence, humor, and deep insight, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader into one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.