Into the Hands of the Soldiers

Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East
Narrated by: David D. Kirkpatrick
Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: History, Middle East
4.5 out of 5 stars (91 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of The Economist's Books of the Year

David D. Kirkpatrick, a correspondent for The New York Times, was banned from Egypt for writing this book: the definitive account of the turn back toward authoritarianism in Cairo and across the Middle East.

Egypt has long set the paradigm for Arab autocracy. It is the keeper of the peace with Israel and the cornerstone of the American-backed regional order. So when Egyptians rose up to demand democracy in 2011, their 30 months of freedom convulsed the whole region. Now a new strongman, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is building a dictatorship so severe some call it totalitarian. The economy sputters, an insurgency simmers, Christians suffer, and the Israeli military has been forced to intervene. But some in Washington - including President Trump - applaud Sisi as a crucial ally. 

Kirkpatrick lived with his family in Cairo through the revolution, the coup and the bloodshed that followed. Then he returned to Washington to uncover the American role in the tragedy. His heartbreaking story is essential to understanding the Middle East today.

©2018 David D. Kirkpatrick (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"This street-level account of the Egyptian revolution and its aftermath combines memoir, reportage, and analysis.... Kirkpatrick’s most valuable insights come from interviews given, years later, by Obama Administration officials." (The New Yorker)   

"Kirkpatrick describes these tumultuous times in compelling detail. The author is honest about how hard it was to interpret events, grasp the motives of people such as Sisi and Morsi and predict the direction in which Egypt was heading.... But Kirkpatrick, who dodged bullets and official harassment, deciphered the mystery." (The Economist)  

"What [Kirkpatrick] has written is a tragedy, not only in the sense of a dreadful mishap, but in the Greek sense of a terrible fate that the hero has provoked yet cannot or will not see - though we in the audience can. It's an account that fills us with terror and pity." (The Wall Street Journal

What listeners say about Into the Hands of the Soldiers

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great book exceeding expectations

Very nice to hear, full of facts, fairly unbiased, I enjoyed every minute of it.

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome story and perspective

I am usually not one to write reviews but this was such an excellent story. I love these great historical and in depth dives into a story but this was even better given that it was told from the perspective of a reporter that is covering it. It was a very nuanced and detailed approach to this largely complex story. Definitely recommend this book!

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Important current history

While the detail, especially, it seemed to me, of the early 2011 events, can be difficult to get through, what's going on in Egypt is important to understand. I think I enjoyed the really current events/politics the most.

2 people found this helpful

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Rambles

Hard to follow story line or historical timeline. Rambled. This book could have been greatly condensed.

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may get better, but presentation is off putting

I have only just started listening to this, but I don't know if I can finish it. The author himself reads it, much to it's determent. The author is massively condescending in tone, and presentation. It is possible to write about a people and a society without sounding like a complete @sshat. As a student of Arabic, and the Middle East, it's distracting to the point that I've stopped listening and come to write a review. I have listened and read a fair number of books on the Middle East, the Arab Spring, and the history and politics that shaped the area, I am unsure if I will continue this one. It is possible to detail complex social and political situations without saturating facts with intonation which speaks in a louder volume than the text itself in viewpoint. The author's intonation and delivery give a very clear personal (very, very low) opinions of the peoples, countries, and regions he is writing about. The author himself, is giving distinct intonation and determining the phrasing and delivery. Therefore, one can only assume he is reading it just as he intended it to be presented. As presented, it is incredibly condescending, an attempt at wry witty worldly cynicism that just comes off as arrogant, hypocritical, and demeaning. To my ears, it readily demonstrates why perhaps, that westerners are viewed so poorly.

2 people found this helpful

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The story of a lost generation

too many thoughts to be written, mostly with a heavy heart. For sure needs a keyboard rather than a phone to give thoughts about this book.

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Not true

many things which are written in this book arunachal and are written through the eyes of biased. the book is boring and this is not will high quality info.