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Publisher's Summary

"The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World" - the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt's history - chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East.

Bassem Youssef's incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation's dissent, but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock.

So potent were Youssef's skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland.

In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government's announcement that it had created the world's first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative - recruited by Jon Stewart - to bring down the country through sarcasm. There's much more - and it's all insanely true.

Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef's humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs.

©2017 Bassem Youssef (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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The Jon Stewart of the Middle East

Bassem Youssef earned the nickname “The Jon Stewart of the Middle East” with his popular satirical news show in Egypt. Political pressure ultimately forced him to flee his country during the Arab Spring, and here he finally tells the whole story with dry, weary humor. The part that blows my mind the MOST is that this man was a freaking HEART SURGEON before the revolution, and he fell into becoming a hugely successful TV news host basically on a whim. Once he got a taste, there was no turning back. Talk about stumbling into your life's calling.

Youssef's trademark seems to be that he jokes about whatever he wants, totally irregardless of pressure from Egypt's leaders, his bosses, or popular opinion. He sticks to his guns, opinions be damned. It's what made him so successful but was also ultimately his downfall. There are so many moments in his story where you're like "Bassemmmmmm, don't do it." But then he does it, and you're just left in awe of his single-minded commitment to forbidding anyone from interfering with his content.

I also have a soft spot for stories with close male friendships, and Youssef's real-life friendship with Jon Stewart is very touching. Youssef was a fan first, and you can tell he's still totally starstruck by Stewart, but Stewart became his mentor and ultimately his friend. There's a moment when Youssef flies to Jordan to meet Stewart in a moment of crisis, as Stewart is one of the few people in the world who can possibly understand and counsel him on the more delicate aspects of being a satirical news host. I loved those parts of this book.

Youssef's voice is totally charming on the audio, and his international perspective is also fascinating, hitting closer to home than you’d expect. His memoir brings the events and fallout of the Arab Spring to life in an accessible way, with a satirist's flair. This was a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hilarious Insight From Someone Who Lived It

As an American who cheered the Arab Spring, Occupy Wallstreet, and still can't believe what has happened since, I recommend this to my friends on both sides of the aisle. You think it can't happen here? This wonderfully funny man watched it happen once then watched us plant the same seeds here. As right as you think your cause is, listen and heed the warnings that any belief or movement can be twisted to serve those in power who has no desire to give it up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow worth every penny!

Wow great book, if you don't learn from history your doomed to repeat it! 2 thumds way up

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Danny
  • California
  • 07-29-18

Brilliant read, warning for the US

For anyone who took even a bit of algebra or otherwise knows how to abstract an issue, this story is funny, tragic, and ominous. Basam shows us how Egypt's incompetent totalitarians are the same as the ones all around the world and through history. The parallels with Trumpism are ominous and obvious. I hope we fix it.

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Must-read for fans of political satire

Dr. Bassem Youssef has had an incredible five years fighting the rise of totalitarian politics in Egypt. For those that followed his story when it was going on, or for those who are fans of people like Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and other political satirists, this book is a great insight into the process behind the curtain, of what makes comedians useful and necessary in questioning power. Especially in the US, now that we’re in the “Make America Great Again” era, I absolutely recommend this book to everyone.

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A must read book

This book is a live representation of all the events that Egypt went through in the last 7 years. There are great revelations of all kinds of things, missing pieces put together from the past. As a man who followed every episode by Basem, i was able to put all his previous episodes into context. I rewatched many episodes just to try sense what he is feeling at that time. Although i believe Basem has gave enough criticism to all parties, though he would disagree with the word criticism according to his book, okay jokes, he did not tackle all issues freely as he did with the muslim brotherhood. I was looking for more on the current rulers of Egypt and the military coup.

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Such a great story but why so Americanized?

Bassem has an amazing story to tell and its an incredible insight into the Arab spring in the crazy Middle East.
Recommend it and love the original story.

But so many American references that the Egyptian story and authenticity is disappearing. I was really looking to hear about local culture and humor but the story, in order to sell to Americans, is full of “dumbefied baseball references” so Americans get it. Was really looking for more Egyptian story and local authenticity. I guess Bassem needs sales just like the other guy.... I would hope to read a translated version of an Arab story if there is one.

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Arab Spring from the eyes of John Stewart of Egypt

Great narration of what really happened during the Arab Spring in Egypt until now. Good job Bassem Youssef

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Great

Great story. The parallels between American politics and mid east politics is fascinating. A must read

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Well known and largely trusted

A great overview of the political life and leadership in Egypt with a well known famous person in Egypt and allArab countries, I really enjoyed it A+

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  • a reader
  • 04-08-17

Fascinating and hilarious!

Read by the man himself, this is the amazing story of a very very brave guy who took a stand for democracy in the face of tyranny and hypocrisy, and it's funny!

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  • kaisbadran
  • 04-18-17

Great Read

informative, Honest and fun. it left me thinking and left me with a void for more

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  • kitty11
  • 05-14-17

Entertaining the Arab Spring

I really enjoyed this audiobook. In documenting his dramatic rise as a satirical political commentator through his own popular Daily Show style program in Egypt Bassem provides many interesting insights on the the Arab Spring from an insider perspective. A highly funny, entertaining listen and would recommend for anyone who's interested in learning more about Youssef's story and work before attaining notoriety on Stewart's Daily Show.