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How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs - The Syrian Arab Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance - cover

How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs - The Syrian Arab Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance

Elizabeth F. Thompson

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

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Summary

The events covered in How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs underlie the turmoil of the last century in the Middle East, and they have never been fully, accurately told.The events of spring 1920 have had a profound impact on the politics of the region that continue to reverberate today; Thompson’s work sheds light on why human rights have gained little ground in the Middle East, why foreign efforts to promote a democracy have been unsuccessful, and why the 2011 Arab revolutions collapsed violently into counter-revolution and civil war. 
Thompson utilizes many primary sources, some which she has translated for the first time into English, to render a compelling and groundbreaking version of this narrative, long dominated by the voices of the victors.
This view of the spring of 1920’s importance—as an intersection of diplomatic and domestic history—is new. How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs places Arab history within a wider international frame of history shared by many non-European peoples after World War I.   
How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs follows specific people involved in the proceedings of the time, particularly Prince Faisal, Rashid Rida, and T.E. Lawrence, to reveal a more nuanced history than previously rendered, similarly to In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (Erik Larson; ISBN 9780307408846; PRH; 10/2011; $28.00; 440,511 sold).
Elizabeth Thompson is a professor of history at the University of Virginia with unique expertise on the politics of this period. She knows Arabic, Turkish, and French, and has spent years in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
Thompson has written two acclaimed books on the region: Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (Columbia, 2000) and Justice Interrupted:  The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East (Harvard, 2013). This is her first trade book.
For readers of David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace and Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919.

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