Fractured Lands

Scott Anderson

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04 May 2017
160 pages

In 2011, a series of anti-government uprisings shook the Middle East and North Africa in what would become known as the Arab Spring. Few could predict that these convulsions, initially hailed in the West as a triumph of democracy, would give way to brutal civil war, the terrors of the Islamic State, and a global refugee crisis. But, as New York Times bestselling author Scott Anderson shows, the seeds of catastrophe had been sown long before.

In this gripping account, Anderson examines the myriad complex causes of the region’s profound unraveling, tracing the ideological conflicts of the present to their origins in the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 and beyond. From this investigation emerges a rare view into a land in upheaval through the eyes of six individuals—the matriarch of a dissident Egyptian family; a Libyan Air Force cadet with divided loyalties; a Kurdish physician from a prominent warrior clan; a Syrian university student caught in civil war; an Iraqi activist for women’s rights; and an Iraqi day laborer-turned-ISIS fighter. A probing and insightful work of reportage, Fractured Lands offers a penetrating portrait of the contemporary Arab world and brings the stunning realities of an unprecedented geopolitical tragedy into crystalline focus.

It’s tempting to turn our backs on the endless violence and hopelessness that consumes several key Arab states, Iraq and Syria in particular. Anderson’s compelling profiles of the courageous and confused people trying to survive in harrowing times, and his insights into the tragic consequences of decisions by leaders in the region and outside, draw us back in.

World Politics Review

A major contribution.

Huffington Post

[An] epic piece. . . . Remarkable.

Democracy Now!