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Johnny West has lived in this area for the past decade and speaks fluent Arabic, and so has the skills and ability to talk to everyone from security guards to revolutionaries, from families of protestors, some of whom have been killed, to oil workers, to cafe owners, lawyers, barbers and clerics. Travelling on public buses, visiting with families, hanging out in shops and cafes, he brings out for all of us what made ordinary people erupt, what happened to them during those days and now, what their hopes, fears and dreams are, how they see us in the West, how each country is different but how they see themselves as part of a joint Arab culture, before Islamists.

Johnny West’s long experience in the area enables him to set all this in context, while never losing the vividness of a travel book or the characters of a novel. This is not a political treatise but a journey of discovery – of people, of places, of life under extraordinary circumstances – which this book allows us to share and makes one feels as if one had been there.

Reviews

'John West, a former Reuters correspondent in Cairo, plunges into this confusion with bright-eyed curiosity and a natural storyteller's appreciation of disconcerting detail. His tendency to pick up the threads of cafe conversation takes him into strange corners scarcely noticed by news reporters' Financial Times.
Financial Times
'Descriptions will resonate for anyone who knows the region ... West adds spine-chilling veracity to his narrative whilst at the same time giving a voice to those who have often fearfully chosen to remain silent' Wanderlust.
Wanderlust