Books: Disintegration and demise

Veteran journalist Robert Worth has a hopeful but misguided approach to the burning Middle East.

May 5, 2016 13:35
Egypt Tahrir

Opposition supporters attend Friday prayer in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 11, 2011. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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I don’t know anything about veteran New York Times journalist Robert F. Worth’s childhood, but I would guess that even as a small boy he was inclined by temperament to look for glimpses of hope amid sadness. Because he does that repeatedly in his extraordinary book, A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, From Tahrir Square to ISIS.

Worth has difficulty understanding the grotesque perversions that can overtake human behavior and finds himself struggling to understand the disintegration and demise of the Arab Spring. Although he has seen too many suicide bombings in Iraq, and assassinations in Lebanon – where he was stationed as the New York Times Beirut bureau chief – we sense that against all odds, he is still rooting for the next generation of Arabs to thrive. We sense his kinship with them.


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