Dreams and Shadows

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Dreams and Shadows

By | November 2012
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My Reaction to Dreams and Shadows

Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East is a compelling narrative that dives into the current state of affairs in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Morocco, and Iraq. The author, Robin Wright, is an award winning journalist who has been studying the Middle East for more than thirty years. I began this book with a limited amount of knowledge about the current situation in these countries. One thing that surprised me about the book was that even though most of the subject matter dealt with wars, revolutions, and uprisings, Wright somehow gave the novel an optimistic feel. The prologue begins with Wright describing how in 1983 she stood across the street from the ruins of the United States Embassy in Beirut after more than sixty Americans had been killed by a suicide bomber. At that time it seemed that Islamic fundamentalists were shaping the future of the region. She goes on to write, “Yet a generation later, Islamic extremism is no longer the most important, interesting or dynamic force in the Middle East”. Upon first reading this, I thought I was going to be reading an inspirational story about democracy reforming a devastated authoritarian regime. However, after reading a few more chapters, it seems that every personal story Wright shares seems to contradict her original thesis, and that change will not come full circle for more generations to come. Following the prologue, Wright tells stories of the primary political players from each country, and reveals their true ambitions. One of my favorite things about the book is that I was able to easily understand it, without previous Middle East knowledge. The majority of the American people could pick up this book and be able to finish it thoroughly understanding the situation in each country. I also enjoyed the fact that Wright set out to challenge any prior information the reader obtained about the current political situation. Each chapter altered my perceptions, and I...