• The Arab Winter

  • A Tragedy
  • By: Noah Feldman
  • Narrated by: Noah Feldman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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The Arab Winter

By: Noah Feldman
Narrated by: Noah Feldman
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Publisher's Summary

Why the conventional wisdom about the Arab Spring is wrong

The Arab Spring promised to end dictatorship and bring self-government to people across the Middle East. Yet everywhere except Tunisia it led to either renewed dictatorship, civil war, extremist terror, or all three. In The Arab Winter, Noah Feldman argues that the Arab Spring was nevertheless not an unmitigated failure, much less an inevitable one. Rather, it was a noble, tragic series of events in which, for the first time in recent Middle Eastern history, Arabic-speaking peoples took free, collective political action as they sought to achieve self-determination. 

Focusing on the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, the Syrian civil war, the rise and fall of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the Tunisian struggle toward Islamic constitutionalism, Feldman provides an original account of the political consequences of the Arab Spring, including the reaffirmation of pan-Arab identity, the devastation of Arab nationalisms, and the death of political Islam with the collapse of ISIS. He also challenges commentators who say that the Arab Spring was never truly transformative, that Arab popular self-determination was a mirage, and even that Arabs or Muslims are less capable of democracy than other peoples. 

Above all, The Arab Winter shows that we must not let the tragic outcome of the Arab Spring disguise its inherent human worth. People whose political lives had been determined from the outside tried, and for a time succeeded, in making politics for themselves. That this did not result in constitutional democracy or a better life for most of those affected doesn't mean the effort didn't matter. To the contrary, it matters for history - and it matters for the future.

©2020 Noah Feldman (P)2020 Princeton University Press
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A timely and insightful exploration of the meaning of the Arab Spring, and of its participants' agencies and responsibilities, by one of the foremost legal scholars and public intellectuals in the United States." (Malika Zeghal, Harvard University)

"Noah Feldman has written an elegant and incisive book that illuminates one of the most important events of our time: the tragic failure of the Arab Spring. It was tragic because failure was avoidable. Tyranny returned in Egypt, horrendous slaughter followed the uprising in Syria, but Tunisia demonstrated what political prudence could achieve: the emergence of democracy in the Arab world. Feldman asks a question with haunting relevance well beyond the Middle East: can a people who have chosen a democratic path then choose to renounce it in favor of tyranny?" (Michael Ignatieff, President, Central European University, Budapest)

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Great audiobook

Impressive analysis of the Arab Spring. With thought provoking ideas about the popitical processes that took place. Books read by the author are my favorites

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loved it

what went wrokng in egypt revolution syria ?
what went right in tunis? great insights

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Excellently researched and written

Mr. Feldman has deep understanding of the subject, the historical background and nuances of the countries and region. I don’t agree with all of his analysis or conclusions but do agree with his central themes of local agency and responsibility, and that the tragedy lies in that the unfortunate outcomes of the respective arab springs need not have been so and were not inevitable. Excellent book. Highly recommended for anyone interested in this topic.