The diverse and well-researched essays in this book make an appealing argument that a real revolution has started in the region and that, early setbacks and reverses notwithstanding, a transition from authoritarianism to democracy has begun. To that end, Gerges, in his introduction to the volume, characterizes the Arab uprisings of 2011 as a revolutionary moment, one that carries within it the seeds of a desperately needed change in the Arab world. Nevertheless, the continued attachment of Arab populations to tribe, clan, and sect currently exceeds the commitment of youth across the Arab world to democratic change. Further, the rise of religious extremism has arrested the direction of protest so that there seems to be at least an equal, if not an ascendant movement to turn Arab societies backwards toward an assumed glorious past rather than to allow it to drift toward a more secular liberal model that Islamist extremists associate with decadent Western societies.

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