Con Coughlin

22 June 2023
288 pages


'Important, compelling, and detailed . . . a superb analysis of the West’s policy missteps and the tragic consequences of them.' - General David Petraeus

In Assad: The Triumph of Tyranny, Con Coughlin, veteran commentator on war in the Middle East and author of Saddam: The Secret Life, examines how a mild-mannered ophthalmic surgeon has transformed himself into the tyrannical ruler of a once flourishing country.

Until the Arab Spring of 2011, the world’s view of Bashar al-Assad was largely benign. He and his wife, a former British banker, were viewed as philanthropic individuals doing their best to keep their country at peace. So much so that a profile of Mrs Assad in American Vogue was headlined ‘The Rose in the Desert’. Shortly after it appeared, Syria descended into the horrific civil war that has seen its cities reduced to rubble and thousands murdered and displaced, a civil war that is still raging over a decade later.

In this vivid and authoritative account Con Coughlin draws together all the strands of Assad's remarkable story, revealing precisely how a young doctor ensured not only that he inherited the presidency from his father, but has held on to power by whatever means necessary, continuing to preside over one of the most brutal regimes of modern times.

Engrossing . . . Coughlin, as this fine book proves, is a careful judge of situations, and what might be hyperbole from another writer is a damning indictment of a man whose name should join the ranks of those who linger in infamy, including Hitler, Stalin and, more recently, another of this author’s most recent subjects: Saddam Hussein . . . [it is] meticulously researched and even-handed – as far as such an account can be – and has the vice-like grip of a thriller
Useful, clear and interesting . . . a biography, but also an indictment
An important, compelling, and detailed examination of the failure of Western powers to act decisively in the early years of the Syrian Civil War and to prevent one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the early twenty-first century. In this significant new book, Con Coughlin provides a superb analysis of the West’s policy missteps and the tragic consequences of them.