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Five years have passed since the author's last visit to Syria the subject of his now-classic The Street Philosopher and the Holy Fool and he now finds Syria a much darker and more troubled place. To make matters worse Abed and Sulayman the street philosopher and holy fool of his previous travelogue are estranged and only manage a short-lived and shaky truce to please their English friend. Kociejowski is a metaphysical journalist who in search of echoes rather than analogies hints as opposed to verities discovers once again among the outcasts at the periphery of Damascene society - for the outcast is to a degree made of the very thing that rejects him - a way to understand the clashes and challenges and changes refashioning both Syria and the Middle East as a whole. Beautifully written The Pigeon Wars of Damascus is essential reading for anyone who wishes a deeper and truer understanding of the Middle East and the political and economic pressures currently refashioning it and reminds us once again of the deeper purpose of travel: to absorb and understand the spirit of a place and to return changed.

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