In the ancient Silk Road city of Aleppo, a young American woman is sucked into the Syrian civil war engulfing the city. Relentlessly pursued by a Javert-like secret police officer, her only refuge is the rebel hospital run by a renowned surgeon.
In The Doctor of Aleppo, Dan Mayland, author of the bestselling Mark Sava spy novel series, pairs a thriller writer's sensibilities with a gripping account of good people trapped in somebody else's war.
Dan Mayland is an author and professional geopolitical forecaster, helping nonprofit, private, and government organizations navigate a changing world. His Mark Sava spy series and his latest novel, The Doctor of Aleppo, were informed by his experiences in the Caspian region and Middle East. Raised in New Jersey, Mayland now lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children, in an old stone farmhouse he and his wife have restored. More information about Dan and his books can be found at danmayland.com.
Inspired by real life, The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland is about a renowned Syrian surgeon Dr Sami Hasan and a Syrian-American woman, Hannah working for a European welfare organization. Set in the city of Aleppo during the Syrian civil war, the story spans over the course of four years (2012-2016). I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I found it to be just okay. I went in looking for a fast paced spy thriller which is how it's marketed, but it was more of a literary suspense with some action towards the end.
The one thing that appealed to me most was the extensive research that the author seemed to have done, because despite this being fiction, most events and places depicted are real. Additionally, atrocities of war, helplessness and frustration of the common people, the devastation and the struggles of carrying out the simplest of tasks amidst the chaos of war was very well portrayed. The plot in itself was pretty decent although the conclusion was slightly abrupt.
However, for the most part, the narration was a mundane third person with an unsteady pace and I was seriously clueless where the book was heading towards up until the halfway mark. Also, there was too much medical jargon that I absolutely didn't care about. I don't usually DNF books, and if I did, would have probably abandoned this around the middle, but I am glad I didn't because that's when the story really picks up and afterwards keeps improving.
So yeah, this was an okay read and failed to wow me. But as I've seen only raving reviews of the book here on Goodreads, make sure to check those out too, because like I keep saying no two people read the same book.
**A free finished copy was provided by TLC Book Tours and Blackstone in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own**
This is a fictional novel, however the author tried to depict the war for Aleppo as accurate as possible, and it is heavy but also quite the page turner. I was hooked from the beginning and could not put it down until I was finished. The story focuses on four individuals - Hannah, a young American woman with dual passports in America and Syria, and her Swedish lover Oskar; Rahim, a secret police officer for the party that is being protested against; and Dr. Sami Hasan, a renowned surgeon. All of their paths cross in the beginning and then continue to cross over the course of the next few years.
The story had me on the edge of my seat several times. I was attached to each of the characters, even Rahim who is for the opposition. This was also very educational, as I only had minimal knowledge of the war and what was going on, and learned so much from reading this.
Was this heavy? Yes, but as it was done in the way of a thriller of sorts it moved quickly and I really liked that. Hannah and Dr. Sami are trying to help the rebels however they can, and so that means at times there are some very serious close calls, and that was just thrilling to read, but also scary because I am sure it was not far from reality.
This is a favorite for me, it is very well written, fast-paced, eye-opening, educational. I enjoyed this very much and am definitely recommending it, although there are some obvious warnings on war-related topics such as murder and violence. Also some gruesome surgery scenes with broken bones and the like if you are somewhat of a wimp like I can be. Just saying.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Blackstone Publishing for my copy to review.
This was an enthralling and outstanding historical fiction war novel read from Dan Mayland, a spy author and a geopolitical forecaster. His research through Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Iran, Bahrain and the Syrian Turkey border came to life in this book and through an ensemble of characters whose lives we are immersed in this story.
The setting is in the 21st century war torn Aleppo, Syria and the writing is truly a stand-out. The intricate research with the vivid and rich detail of the storytelling makes this novel one for the ages. The story itself was an enlightening experience for me especially learning about that area of the world, but it was the characters that really drew me into this story.
The characters with their struggles and hardships, quest for survival to protect their loved ones, were brought to life through this page-turner and heartbreaking novel.
Intensely readable! Dan Mayland’s novel unfolds against the backdrop of the Syrian revolution (starting in 2012) and perfectly captures the frustration and anger that turned regular citizens into protesters calling for change in their country. As government retaliation increased, children, women and men became martyrs and mourners meanwhile The Doctor of Aleppo risks his own safety to provide care where he can. While the plot includes the protest and the violent beatings that both major and minor characters endure in the fight for freedom, the title doctor’s medical maneuverings and heroic feats amidst the political upheaval, are what catapult this book from merely a historical rendering to an intense read.
As a married Orthopedic Surgeon, Doctor Sami Hasan works with government officials and those who can afford to pay for care in the University Hospital of Aleppo. Yet he must also accede to his wife’s request to care for her family, although he knows that his in-law’s proclivity to politics is both the source and display board for the injuries they suffer. Syrian-American Hannah and her Swedish boyfriend Oskar have been working with the government to build a local park but Hannah’s dual citizenship is more likely a metaphor for the two ways she can get into and out of situations, jeopardizing those around her even as she relies on their assistance. Rahim Suleiman is Mukhabarat, a member of a government group that identifies and punishes rebels and so committed to his job, that he involves his 15-year-old son as a spy, although he vows revenge when the price becomes too high to pay.
The Doctor of Aleppo may be a work of fiction but reading the pages of this novel feels like entering the reality of tear gas and automatic weapons discharging in the background, where broken bones regularly jut out from bloody clothing and a child’s runny nose is sign of ruptured cerebrospinal fluid. The details are gritty and the characters are relentless even as the reader might beg them to stay in place to evade the disaster he know lurks on the next page, but this thrilling read is a testament to Mayland’s experience with the history as it unfolded and his ability to relate the story so the reader can feel like he was there but also be grateful that he wasn’t.
This is my first encounter with a fictional rendering of the Syrian revolution and it has awakened a desire to know more about a war that was fought in recent history but whose heroes and their accomplishments deserve even more recognition.
Note: Blackstone Publishing provides me with a complimentary copy of the book in order to complete this review.
Set against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, Mayland's latest novel takes the reader into wartorn Aleppo where the fates of three people - a renowned surgeon, a Syrian-American aid worker, and a secret police officer - become intertwined amidst the ongoing fighting and destruction. The detailed research that went into this book is evident. While I would have liked a little more depth to the characters, this was a gripping read.
There have been many times in my life where historically significant actions rushed upon me like a rogue wave. Some delighted me, some made me question my religion, and some saddened my belief in humanity. I read newspaper articles and viewed television stories about the Syrian War. I felt bad for the people and shook my head in despair at the senseless destruction of a nation. But I never imagined the horrors that explode to life in The Doctor of Aleppo. When you compare this book to my life, I’ve had a fairy tale ending. This book drags the reader into the horror of war through the eyes of everyday people: mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children chained to endless destruction, unbelievable anguish, and torturous death by the shackles of evil people in search of wealth and power. I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book. But, I must say that I will never see or read of war without remembering this book.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. I was afraid that it would be focused on the war in Syria and full of military jargon. I was greatly surprised when I started to read it and found out that it was about the human side of war, about the destruction of the cities and the needless loss of the innocent lives of people who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was most importantly about what people do for others in a life threatening situation when they could just protect themselves and their families and run to another country. Many of the people in this novel went out of their way to help other people even if it endangered their own lives.
This is a well-researched and well written novel that is fast paced and gives the reader insight into a war that very few Americans are aware of. It has two strong main characters who are brave and resilient and won't soon be forgotten by most readers.
Really wanted to love this one but unfortunately it fell flat. The characters were one-dimensional and the relationship developments didn’t feel organic which made it hard for me to connect to the story. The kids, Adam and Noora, were really the only ones I grew relatively attached to.
Pros: Mayland’s thorough research for The Doctor of Aleppo both medically and politically—it was impressive! He also did a great job capturing the atmosphere and setting the scene.
This book is a hidden gem. I want to yell out to the world that everyone should read this story. It brings to life the human side of the war in Syria, using four very different characters whose lives are intertwined. Highly recommend.
Hannah works for an NGO in Alleppo with her partner Oskar a Swede. An American who also holds a Syrian passport on account of her father being Syrian, Hannah is right now in a vulnerable position as everyone is trying to get out of Syria as tensions and conflicts mount.
Caught up in an accident and ending in hospital Oskar is now immobile and in the hands of Dr. Sami a surgeon who is desperately trying to help the average man on the street and one of the few not affiliated to any side. He is walking a tightrope because he knows several members of his family are working against the regime and his one fear is that he and his family will get embroiled in the circuitous revenge which is paramount in Syria.
The story of Dr. Sami inextricably linked with Hannah who does not not know what should be filtered in conversation or not, speaking out what she considers the truth, sets off a chain of events which lead to murder and mayhem and which sadly at the end amount to nothing because it was the wrong end of the stick. The reader is saddened at the un necessary loss of life, the constant pursuit of a so called murderer, the pursuit of revenge, a life for a life which hounds Dr. Sami despite all his intentions to do good to all who seek his help.
The personal against the general war is pictured very well in this story for
it atrocities are very well known. The various factions and intra wars between groups may get confusing but the general idea of mayhem, absolute destruction and no value for human life is very apparent.
I thought I would love it but unfortunately the story fell flat to me..
First, let me say that the research into the war and conflict as well as the realism with which it’s depicted, is amazing! It is truthful to real events and I really liked that it was so realistic.
However, even though I usually don’t mind medical jargon, this one was filled with it, and it didn’t bring anything to the story. It made the story unnecessarily detailed on matters that didn’t help the narrative.
The third person narration, although a personal choice, didn’t really work here for me, as I never really managed to connect or care for the characters. They also felt very one dimensional and the best characterisation was that of children but they only made an appearance late into the novel, making it hard to care about their fate.
Overall, it is well written and relates about the conflict in Syria in a realistic manner, however the lack of depth in characters and their relationships let the book down.
Expect the unexpected with this one. What I thought was going to be a considerably weighty read turned out to be so much more. Prepare yourself for an evening of captivating reading that will consume the rest of your day, and night, because you are about to get hooked.
THE DOCTOR OF ALEPPO is my first read by author Dan Mayland, and though I hear he writes a pretty good spy novel, I was not expecting a historical war fiction saga quite as brilliant as this. Based on the true events that occurred in Aleppo between 2012 and 2016 THE DOCTOR OF ALEPPO is a fictional story that follows characters Dr. Sami Hassan, a Syrian surgeon and Hannah, an American aid worker and activist. They meet at the beginning of the novel and continue to come across each other though a gut wrenching journey to save victims of the war.
This fictional story is based on real life interviews that Mayland conducted in Aleppo, and gives a true inside look at what went on in Aleppo and what the residents endured. Although the characters and story line are completely fictional, the historical background is extremely educational and gives the reader a better understanding of the war in Aleppo. The book itself is an excellent drama that pulls you in immediately and moves at such a fast pace it reads like a thriller, giving you that 'edge of your seat- gripping' feel. This is exactly what I was NOT expecting, and although it is a 450 page emotional read, you will not want to put it down until you reach the end. This is a very powerful book that makes your heart heavy and will resonate with you long after you finish. A brilliant piece of work that everyone needs to read.
I highly recommend this novel. I feel it will become a fast favorite amongst critics and a necessary read in the literary world.
I just would like to thank Dan Mayland, TLC Book Tours and Blackstone Publishing for the gifted copy of this book for my unbiased and honest opinion for review.
"The Doctor of Aleppo" will be launched by Blackstone in August. Researching this book, Dan Mayland spent many months in Turkey just over the border from Syria, observing and interviewing the teams who labored to save victims of the civil war. By using the format of a novel, he is able to tell the kinds of stories that journalists dare not report for fear of endangering their sources.
Dan tells these stories so well that I made the mistake of thinking I could get away with going asleep at 10 PM without finishing it. I woke at 2 AM, gave up on sleep and went back to The Doctor of Aleppo.
Emotional impact: I cried. I'm crying again right now just remembering...
This is a book for the ages, a window on a pivotal time in history, told with compassion combined with unflinching truths, illustrated with graphic, well researched details.
His characters are unforgettable. Dan Mayland even inspired me to feel compassion for "42-year-old Mukhabarat officer Rahim Sulaeimani," rather than portray him as a one dimensional villain. (...tears are running down my cheeks as I write this...)
You will laugh; you will be shocked. Through his characters' eyes, you will experience beauty, despair, hope. And you will never forget them, because The Doctor of Aleppo is more true than truth.
While reading this moving work of historical fiction, I couldn’t help but think of Americans sequestering because of COVID-19 and enraged because they wanted the “freedom” to get manicures and haircuts and go to brunch. Imagine then if they lived in a non-Western country, such as in Syria in 2012, where and when this story begins. Just getting food and water was (and still is) a challenge, not to mention facing the constant risk of losing your livelihood, your home, your family, or being imprisoned, tortured, or bombed.
A civil war erupted in Syria in 2011 between forces loyal to the dictator Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule. Other domestic factions, such as jihadist militants, joined the fray, as well as a number of countries which either became directly involved or provided support to one or another faction, including Iran, Russia, Turkey, and until recently, the United States. (You may recall the horror felt both at home and around the world when President Trump decided to abandon Kurdish fighters who had fought and died to help America destroy the Islamic State in Syria.) As for the devastation in Syria, statistics are hard to come by, but a 2016 study put the death toll at 470,000, with another 1.9 million wounded. A 2018 study cited at least 14,000 confirmed deaths from torture.
This novel begins in Aleppo, Syria, where we meet the main characters: Samir Hasan, called Dr. Sami, one of the few, very overworked doctors in the city; American Hanna Johnson and her Swedish boyfriend Oskar Lång, in Aleppo representing a Brussels-based development organization; and Rahim Suleiman, an officer in the Mukhabarat - Assad’s notorious intelligence agency. The children of Hasan and Suleiman also feature in the story, because it is the fate of their children, in large part, which drives the behavior of both men.
In fact I think the children are the best characters, even though they play subsidiary roles. As bombs fall down around them, and as people they love are lost or die, they remain children: resilient though fearful, and struggling to be independent, loving, playful, and faithful to what they know and to those who remain in their lives.
The adults have more complicated existences. Suleiman, a cruel and capricious man with the power of the Syrian regime behind him, is intent on punishing both Sami and Hannah, for reasons that unfold during the story. Sami gives a great deal of his time and his talent to others, but is much more parsimonious with his emotions. Oskar is shallow and flighty, although he occasionally manages to step up to the bar when he is needed.
I disliked each of the male characters, but they were so well drawn I had radically different reasons for my antipathy toward each of them. As for Hannah, I felt so bad for her - she was looking for love in all the wrong places, both figuratively and literally. When she finally was able to feel loved and needed in the way she desperately wanted, it was from an entirely unexpected place.
But while the stories of the protagonists and their efforts to survive and protect (or eliminate) each other are quite affecting, I believe it is the horrific fate of the city of Aleppo and its people that will impact readers the most. Much of what Americans hear about the war in Syria consists of dry recitations of history and explications of complex political alliances. This neutralizes what is happening and sterilizes it. Fiction, on the other hand, allows the reader, through the characters, to gain an intimate understanding of the dread, fear, and despair of living in a war-torn country in which one's fate is determined by far-off actors with agendas bearing no relationship to the day-to-day lives of everyday people. Just as the political becomes personal, each loss becomes personal as well. The author helps readers travel the distance from impersonal language to the imagination of what it really must be like for the people behind the numbers.
In the case of Syria, the widespread practice of torture is also a constant threat, and plays a part in this story. It is almost unbearable to read about, but it is a fact of life in this country. But so too are bravery and sacrifice, and thankfully, we read about these qualities in the novel as well.
Evaluation: This book tells a story that is hard to forget. As Dr. Sami mused:
“The Aleppo he had known had been a city of manners and civility, of hammams and hidden caravansaries, of universities and soccer stadiums. A city in which Sunni, Shia, and Alawite Muslims, along with Christians, Jews, Druze, nonbelievers, and everyone in between had lived together in at least relative peace. To walk through the souk was to hear languages from all corners of the world. But that city was dead. . . .”
What happened to divide it into lethal factions marked by hatred and tribalism? Finding an answer matters; it seems as if the whole world is devolving into armed camps lacking compassion, a sense of commonality, and an interest in pursuing goals for the good of all groups. Why is it so easy to embrace hatred?
This poignant story and the issues it raises suggest it is an excellent choice for book clubs.
Words cannot accurately describe how touched I was by this story. This book depicts wartime Syria from 2012-2016. The civil war between ISIS and The Free Syrian Army for control over the city of Aleppo is a war unlike one I’ve ever read about. This story, while a work of fiction, closely follows true history.
-Dr. Sami Hasan is a brilliant and talented surgeon that cannot keep up with the influx of those injured by the war. To treat a rebel could mean death by the Mukhabarat. There are spies everywhere waiting to turn you in. All he cares about are treating his patients and he has little time for anything else, including his family.
-American Hannah and Swede Oskar are humanitarian workers stationed in Syria, trying to get back to Turkey when they get caught up in a protest. While hiding from the Mukhabarat, Oskar severely breaks his leg and they rush him to the hospital where they cross paths with Dr. Hasan. While recovering from surgery, Oskar witnesses the death of his hospital roommate (the son of a prominent Mukhabarat officer) and flees without telling Hannah.
-We follow how the lives of Dr. Hasan, Hannah and Oskar play out and how they intertwine throughout. We see how the war affects their families, especially the family of Dr. Hasan. The level of humanity that Hannah and Dr. Hasan possess throughout this story is mind blowing. I can only imagine how much pain, tragedy and struggles of those that serve others under these horrific conditions have to endure...yet they continue to help and serve others. They are selfless and heroic and the world could not continue without them.
This book is an absolute MUST READ. I would highly recommend this book to absolutely everyone. It’s a deep and thought provoking book that forces our eyes open to the atrocities that still happen in the world today.
Set amidst the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2012, The Doctor of Aleppo attempts to bring home this story to readers of fiction. While I’ve cataloged numerous nonfiction books at work on this event, this is the first novel I have come across. The novel opens with direct action as the readers will see how a protest leads the novel’s namesake doctor, Dr. Sami Hasan, to make a choice to help a relative or protect his government job. Sami must then do his best to balance the two priorities moving forward since his wife’s family is deeply involved with the protesting.
Also featured in the novel is Syrian-American Hannah Johnson and her Swedish boyfriend Oskar Lang. Both arrived in the country to work with the government to build a park. However, when the pair finds themselves at a protest, their lives quickly change and Hannah finds his dual-citizenship to be both a blessing and a burden as the protests grow into revolution.
With it’s more recent setting, The Doctor of Aleppo is not quite yet historical fiction. That said, like historical fiction, it places the reader right into the action of the war. Readers will finish the novel knowing what it was like to be in the middle of that civil war as a common person, down to the most gritty details. Full, uncensored descriptions are given to what it is like to experience tear gas or being under gunfire. Frustrations and anger of the people shows through in numerous ways. Likely, Mayland is helped in these descriptions due to interviews of people who were there and due to a visit he made to the country as part of his research process.
This review is based on a copy of the book provided by the author and publisher.
The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland was presented to me as "an emotional wartime mystery/romantic suspense title written with some of the epic WWll stories of love, tragedy, and redemption in mind, and applied to themes of war in Syria. Someone who loves to be both emotionally and intellectually engaged would enjoy this book. It has drawn comparisons to A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra." (I did receive a free copy for an honest review.)
If I revisit the above teaser that was sent to me describing the book, I would have to say that the "love" story is secondary. The plot revolves around Hannah, an American aid worker with a dual Syrian passport; Oskar, her Swedish boyfriend; and Sami, the Doctor of Aleppo. Most of the narrative is from Hannah and Sami's points of view. War and destruction are the primary focus.
As mentioned in the blurb, there are some Les Misérables similarities with Rahim, a member of the regime's secret police. Because of his own loss, he feels bent on a violent revenge. Without giving too much away, there's also a glimpse of A Tale of Two Cities.
I enjoyed this book and marveled at Hannah's resilience and dedication. I never did get a true feeling about Hannah's causes though. Was she really trying to fight the good fight or was she just drifting and trying to escape her life in New Jersey. Her caring of Sami's children made up for this lack of characterization. I would definitely recommend this book. There are lessons to be learned.
Dan Mayland’s The Doctor of Aleppo is a valuable reminder that despite modern global connectedness, large-scale human tragedies can, and still do, go relatively unchecked. The media news cycle designed to sate short attention spans can harden even the kindest of souls, but thankfully fiction still has the power to cut through and raise lasting awareness. The idiom, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes” could not be more true. And, this author clearly has the requisite knowledge and experience to offer readers a realistic depiction of life during the most recent Syrian conflict.
Mayland’s lead characters’ conviction to serve others, and heroism in doing so, are unquestionably admirable, but not all are traditionally likeable personalities. For example, the male-female interactions, while likely authentic in this cultural context, proved a barrier between this reader and deeper character engagement. But, The Doctor of Aleppo is a story far bigger than any single character. Continue reading: https://www.bookloverbookreviews.com/...
I struggled with this book for the first dozen or so chapters. I was using Audible and found the beginning quite confusing, particularly with regards to dates - had I had an actual book in front of me, of course I would've just flicked back to check the details. As it was, I restarted this three times, before I eventually got into it. I would say it is totally gripping from about a third of the way through. From then I couldn't put it down. The characters are all really interesting and well developed. The descriptions of the war and bombings are so vivid. From a historical perspective, I learnt so much more about the war in Syria than I ever had from the news. As a medical professional, I was really impressed at how accurate the hospital/operating theatre scenes were. I thought the book was very well researched. This book has everything - danger, intrigue, thrills, courage, heartbreak and love.
First of all, I was a lucky recipient of an ARC of 'The Doctor of Aleppo' from Dan Mayland.
I have read all of the Mark Sava books and thoroughly enjoyed them. But, I knew 'Doctor' was going to be a different type of book than those. It was and it didn't fail to deliver. I was caught up in the story from the first page. The detail and continuity of the story made me not want to put it down. It was very enlightening to the plight of the people and the region during the time of war. I couldn't imagine how it was like before reading 'Doctor' It was eye opening and engaging.
'The Doctor of Aleppo' is a book that will make you think twice and shouldn't be missed. Take my word for it, you will love this book.
This novel does a brilliant job of portraying the Arab Spring, the rise of the rebellion in Syria, and the destruction that ensued as Syria became a chessboard for factions and nations. The lives of two characters, one an orthopedic surgeon from Syria and the other, a Syrian-American NGO worker, become intertwined in the chaos of war. At times, the book can feel disjointed because Mayland breaks up the decade for the sake of keeping the novel tight and moving, but once you ground yourself where the characters are and what they are doing, the book moves at a fast clip. It's definitely worth a read to humanize what folks on the ground in Syria have gone through since the Arab Spring erupted in 2011. Overall rating: 4.75/5.
As a fan of the Mark Sava series, I've come to expect a few things from a Dan Mayland book: an in-depth look at a region of the world that I know little about (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and now Syria), a fast-paced thriller that still takes the time to develop characters and provide their backstory, and details that can only be provided by someone who has been there and draws from friends and contacts where the story is set. The Doctor of Aleppo showcases all of these traits and provides a history of the Syrian civil war, alongside the primary storyline of a Syrian doctor and American aid worker making their way through day-to-day life in a war zone. Excellent read.
Thought this book was terrible. I really was up for reading a book centered on the Syrian War, but The Doctor Aleppo was definitely not it and such a huge disappoint after so many positive reviews! It is a mystery as to why people liked it. The doctor was unlikeable. The story of Hannah falling for the doctor, why? Hannah meeting Oskar at the gate after weeks or months, really!? The author was told stories from survivors of the war, he tried to piece those stories with characters, but fails terribly. Find another book about the war. The ending in particular was one of the worst ever, I wanted to throw the book across the room when I was finished.
Excellent new effort from Dan Mayland. I had been looking for a new Sava book for the past few years and instead got my hands on an early copy of The Doctor of Aleppo. Very good character development, plot keeps moving. I enjoyed the shorter chapters with multiple story lines. It just seemed to keep the pace lively. I don’t usually pay much attention the medical jargon, but his description of the war torn country and medical conditions really added to the story. I also learned more about the area and the war than I seem to with some of non fiction reporting I’ve read. Really well done.
This novel is the very reason I read novels. I have been reading about the Syrian conflict for years now. This presents such an organic, human quality to the smaller picture behind the big picture of this tragic war, which of course is actually the only picture worth reading about. I could mention many things I found enjoyable about this book but the one fact mentioned that I loved was that Dan pointed out how a drought was the beginning of the revolt. I won't say anything else but thank you so much for writing this book.
I will read and reread this book, every time there is a new armed conflict, no matter where it takes place. It is a powerful story of the insanity of war and how people suffer and endure. War is the same and its consequences are the same everywhere. The war in Syria is particularly horrible proof that war never really has winners. The characters are strong and real, the madness war creates in otherwise good people and the savagery it engenders are clearly and realistically shown. It is a true depiction of horror committed in the name of righteousness.
3.75. Captures the devastation of the Syrian war by focusing on a doctor’s family in Aleppo and an American woman who is trying to provide medical supplies to clinics in the war zone. Interesting for descriptions of places and people, and for historical information. Gives you a sense of the opposing forces from Assad, Iran, rebels, and ISIS. Writing is okay but basically straightforward with little real character development. Still, I think it is valuable for its revelations about the chaos and violence perpetrated by all sides.