Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

False Dawn

Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East

Steven A. Cook



In stock
Ready to ship


Oxford University Press
08 April 2019
More than half a decade after Arabs across the Middle East poured into the streets to demand change, hopes for democracy have disappeared in a maelstrom of violence and renewed state repression. In False Dawn, noted Middle East expert Steven A. Cook looks at the trajectory of events across the region from the initial uprising in Tunisia to the failed coup attempt in Turkey to explain why the Arab Spring uprisings did not succeed.

Despite appearances, there were no true revolutions in the Middle East seven years ago: none of the affected societies underwent social revolutions, and the old structures of power were never eliminated. Even supposed successes like Tunisia still face significant barriers to democracy because of the continued strength of old regime players. Libya, the state that came closest to revolution, has fragmented into chaos, and Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has undertaken a widespread crackdown on his opponents, reinforcing the Turkish leader's personal power.

After taking stock of how and why the uprisings failed to produce lasting change, Cook considers the role of the United States in the region. What Washington cannot do, Cook argues, is shape the politics of the Middle East going forward. While many in the policymaking community believe that the United States must "get the Middle East right," American influence is actually quite limited; the future of the region lies in the hands of the people who live there. Authoritative and powerfully argued, False Dawn is a major work on one of the most important historical events of the past quarter century.
By:   Steven A. Cook
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 225mm,  Width: 144mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   421g
ISBN:   9780190931759
ISBN 10:   0190931752
Pages:   360
Publication Date:   08 April 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction: We Are FreeChapter 1: A Moment of EnthusiasmChapter 2: Bread, Freedom, Social JusticeChapter 3: UnravelingChapter 4: On the Road to NowhereChapter 5: Getting the Middle East RightChapter 6: Getting Worse Before it Gets Worse

Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Struggle for Egypt and Ruling but Not Governing.

Reviews for False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East

The promise of the 'Arab Spring' now seems a distant memory. False Dawn offers a sweeping account, a combination of on-the-ground narrative and deep historical analysis of what went wrong. Stephen Cook's excellent book opens with a quote from deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 that seemed like a threat at the time but now reads more like a prophecy: 'The youth who called for change and reform will be the first to suffer.' Cook tells us why. - Deborah Amos How did the Arab Spring become the long winter we now see? Steven Cook is one of Washington's most astute and informed observers of the Middle East, and anyone wanting to understand how the region has ended up in its current unraveling state would do well to read his new book False Dawn. The backlash -- and Western misreadings of it -- are all too real, and Cook's book is a major contribution in understanding what we got wrong. - Susan Glasser, chief international affairs columnist of POLITICO, and former Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy The collapse of the Arab Spring was more than a defeat for democracy in the Arab world, it broke the Middle East. In this incisive book, [Steven Cook] has masterfully applied the tools of the social sciences to separate fact from fiction in explaining how that moment of hope in the region turned into calamity. Intelligent and well-written this is must reading for anyone interested in understanding the tumult that is unfolding in the Middle East today. - Vali Nasr For those who want to understand the deeper dynamics that explain what happened specifically in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey, they now have an excellent book to read. False Dawn, Steven Cook's latest work, offers a smart and analytically compelling explanation for why the events of 2011 were bound to fall short of the promise and hopes they raised. Ultimately, the uprisings forced out individual leaders but not the power structures and institutions that sustained them except in Libya where Qaddafi's demise left a vacuum. Authoritarian governance, the struggle over identity, and ongoing conflicts are going to define the Middle East for the foreseeable future, and Cook calls for American policy-makers to understand the limits of our ability to change these basic sources of instability in the area. Even those who may not fully subscribe to his policy prescription will profit highly from reading this very well constructed and thoughtful book. - Dennis Ross 'False Dawn' is a name fit for the next Dwayne Johnson action movie, however, it talks about the biggest action movie that has never been made: The Arab spring. Steven Cook gives one of the best detailed accounts about the hopes and disappointments in our modern times. The hope that was there and then never fulfilled. A must read book for anyone who wants to know what the hell happened there and doesn't want to get second hand information from pundits sitting on a CNN panel pretending to know what they are talking about. - Bassem Youssef

See Also