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Synopsis

"This is the book you have to read on the Middle East - not just to understand the Arab revolutions, but to feel them as human drama and tragedy." George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate and The Unwinding

In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later, their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top.

A Rage for Order is the first work of literary journalism to track the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. In the style of V. S. Naipaul and Lawrence Wright, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth brings the history of the present to life through vivid stories and portraits. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the Qaddafi-regime torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy.

Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East, and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.

PRAISE FOR A RAGE FOR ORDER

"It would be hard to find a more astute and eloquent guide to this explosive corner of the Earth than Robert F. Worth. He somehow managed to be on hand for a score of crucial moments in the Arab world's great convulsions, from the vast demonstrations of Tahrir Square to a just-liberated Libyan prison to the crushing of great hopes in the years that followed. Whatever lies ahead, I suspect that, as with John Reed's reporting on the Russian Revolution, people will be reading this vivid eyewitness account for years to come." Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars

"Riveting, vivid, lucid, and wise, Robert F. Worth's A Rage for Order is reportage of the highest order: it illuminates current Middle Eastern crises through the daily experiences of ordinary, and extraordinary, men and women. I've read no finer or more nuanced account." Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs

"Worth . . . draws on his intimate knowledge of the Middle East to offer a penetrating, unsettling analysis . . . Informing the vivid narrative are many revealing interviews as well as the author's own eyewitness accounts of events. A crucial portrait of a deeply troubled region." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Worth utilizes his long experience in the Middle East to provide a riveting survey of the origins, course of events, and causes of the dashing of so many of the dreams fueling the uprisings. ... The result is an informative, if often heartrending, account of events whose consequences are still unfolding." Booklist

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