As pro-democracy activists continue to battle the government of Bashar al-Assad, Syria looks likely to remain in the headlines for weeks and months to come. For those hoping to better understand one of the most influential countries in the current Mideast power dynamic, here are six books – a mix of literature, history, and politics – that offer insight.
Rafik Schami's novel The Dark Side of Love, set in Damascus in the 1950's, tells the story of two teenagers caught in a Romeo and Juliet-type romance in the midst of a multi-decade blood feud. The book's real main character, however, is Syria, and its central story is that of the evolution of the modern Syrian psyche. The whole spectrum of Syrian society is found in the pages of this riveting novel.
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