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The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history's violent return to Lebanon after fifteen years of quiet. Michael J. Totten's version of events in one of the most volatile countries in the world's most volatile region is one part war correspondence, one part memoir, and one part road movie.

He sets up camp in a t
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Encounter Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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4.03  · 
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 ·  151 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-east, war
Sure, the book is one-sided. Obviously there is no discussion of Hezbollah's social welfare organization (the book just focuses on the militant side of Hezbollah). I would have liked to see Totten get not only into Southern Lebanon to see the disaster areas, but also the hospitals and schools.

However, going into the book knowing the author might not be the most objective man on the planet, the book is an excellent read. [And this doesnt disparage the author, he is quite open about his views].

Melissa McShane
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book provides an excellent overview of the current situation in Lebanon and how that country's politics and culture are influenced by its neighbors, particularly Syria. Totten has a real love for Lebanon, and this makes him an ideal narrator and tour guide through the Middle East. Much of this material has appeared previously in his blog, but he's expanded on some events and tied others together to create a more unified story than the episodic nature of online updates allows. I came away fr ...more
Ellis Amdur
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners:  A Story of Friendship and Terror, writes: ". . . an absolutely fearless reporter, both physically - he has explored the darkest corners of Middle East extremism - and morally. No one is as clear-eyed as Totten on the subject of Iran's repressive regime . . ." Unfortunately, too many people in the West, approaching the subject of Lebanon, simply gloss it over as a place of chaos.  Totten delineates the dizzying array of factions, each at war with many of th ...more
Benjamin Ables
Apr 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Tendentious at best, Michael Totten's reportage of the Beirut Spring initially comes off as myopic, somewhat ignorant, and at times, even immature coverage of what can only be described as the denouement of more than two decades of instability in Lebanon. One is led to believe that Totten was initially completely unaware of the many intricacies at play within Lebanese politics both domestically, and vis-a-vis other regional actors. However, as the book progresses, Totten seems to mature as a rep ...more
Jack Whitsel
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Mike Totten's, The Road to Fatima Gate, is an in-depth account of the rise of Hezbollah and their influence within Lebanon. Following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Mike Totten serves as herald as Lebanon teeters upon the precipice; one hand reaching for a free-state, the other immersed in bloodshed.

Totten's approach to this subject is not only through diligent research, but also from his personal experience as a Foreign correspondent and analyst. Instead of approaching the su
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on the geopolitics of Lebanon and the Levant (Israel, Syria etc.) written by a real expert of the area, and imho the first hand account of the infamous attack of the Syrian Nazi party thugs to Christopher Hitchens by itself is worth buying and reading the whole book.
“The Road to Fatima Gate” was published only 4 years ago, in early 2011, but things have changed an awful lot in Lebanon (and obviously in the Arab world), making part of this book a bit outdated, but still it's an abs
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating account of the muddled stew that is Lebanon. I liked the writer's style, and first-person accounts are always interesting to me. It was sometimes difficult to follow the thread of the narrative as it bounced back and forth among the many factions within this embattled country. I doubt many people are aware of the extent to which Iran is the puppet-master of this tragedy. The author makes a compelling point that no measure of peace in the Middle East can be possible unless and until t ...more
Aaron Shields
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"There may be real peace at last in the Eastern Mediterranean when the citizens of Iran seize the levers of power, when al-Assad's family loses its control over Syria, and when Lebanon is the final home for all her children."

Wow- what an epic tragedy Lebanon is. Hopefully the above is realized. Soon.

Totten has major stones for reporting on the chaos of Lebanon and Hezbollah, etc. The story about Christopher Hitchens nearly getting killed perfectly summarized the fine line for a journalist in Bei
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is an essential source for anyone interested in the current state of Lebanon or the Arab-Israeli-Iranian conflict. The only weakness is the lack of photos or maps. Those who follow Totten's blogging know that his photography is every bit as compelling as his writing, so the lack of photos is frustrating. Even so, anyone interested in Middle Eastern affairs should read this book.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Well written- easy reading but that's it when it comes to discussing it as a literary work. On the other hand, I consider Fatima's Gate as one of the worst books ever written about the Middle East.It is a biased monologue of the writer's experience of Lebanon, and it echoed more or less American news reports presenting more of a pro-Israeli/ Anti-Arab & Mulism rhetoric
Dion Schuit
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It reads like you are watching a documentary. First time reader on this subject but I think it gives a great account on the situation with the different 'interests' at play making it a restless place to live to say the least.
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I am a big fan of Totten's travel writing. This is his first book and it's not as good as his most recent writings. Still it deals with a very interesting topic so I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the Lebanese civil war or Hezbohllah.
Jeremy Kroeker
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
After reading this book by Michael J. Totten, I am way more confused about Lebanese politics than I was before... which means that he did a great job of explaining it. Really entertaining, and informative.
Megan Prahl
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Stopped about halfway through . . . lost steam.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
Ignorant and childish book. It's more like a published blog than a proper study. Read Robert Fisk or Thomas L. Friedman if you want to know what proper journalism on Lebanon is.

Katherine Elise
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Informative and engaging - although a little biased. It's a First hand account, which is rare, and that's what gives the book its value. Essential reading for anyone interested in Lebanon's history.
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“It would be bad for Lebanon and for the Middle East if the U.S. withdraws from the region. We will face a different Arab and Muslim world. It is very strange and ironic that even the pro-Iranians in Iraq are asking the Americans to stay. You could write a theater about it. Making the Americans totally withdraw from the Arab world would be a mistake, would be a disaster for the moderates in the Arab world. The radicals and the Iranians would win.” 0 likes
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