Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

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Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

by Robin Wright
Penguin Press, 2008
480 pp. $26.95
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With insights and expertise gained over 35 years of reporting on the Middle East, Wright explores whether major changes in the direction of democratization are afoot. Separate chapters on Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and the Palestinians, as well as a short but devastating critique of U.S.-occupied Iraq, add up to representative rather than comprehensive coverage. Largely absent are all the states on the Arabian Peninsula, the Maghreb states lying between Egypt and Morocco, as well as Turkey, Jordan, and Sudan. Wright has rightly chosen to cover what she knows best. The result is a nuanced and historically accurate account emphasizing individuals -- not just the powerful but also those who would be bearers of change, such as Morocco's Fatima Mernissi and Iran's Abolkarim Soroush, plus others brilliantly brought to life in this insightful and readable book.