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.
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