In early 2011, the world’s attention was riveted on Cairo, where after three decades of supremacy, Hosni Mubarak was driven from power. It was a revolution as swift as it was explosive. For eighteen days, anger, defiance, and resurgent national pride reigned in the streets—protestors of all ages struck back against police and state security, united toward the common goal of liberation.
But the revolution was more than a spontaneous uprising. It was the end result of years of mounting tension, brought on by a state that shamelessly abused its authority, rigging elections, silencing opposition, and violently attacking its citizens. When revolution bloomed in the region in January 2011, Egypt was a country whose patience had expired—with a people suddenly primed for liberation.
As a journalist based in Cairo, Ashraf Khalil was an eyewitness to the perfect storm that brought down Mubarak and his regime. Khalil was subjected to tear gas alongside protestors in Tahrir Square, barely escaped an enraged mob, and witnessed the day-to-day developments from the frontlines. From the halls of power to the back alleys of Cairo, he offers a one-of-a-kind look at a nation in the throes of an uprising.
Liberation Square is a revealing and dramatic look at the revolution that transformed the modern history of one of the world’s oldest civilizations.
“A thrilling account of Egypt’s revolution. . . . What’s remarkable about Liberation Square is how good it is, how well written, how perfectly calibrated in its amounts of background, commentary and prognostication—and above all how thrilling it is to read.” —Salon“Egyptian journalist Ashraf Khalil confounds expectations with an insightful account that feels rich…. It is difficult to imagine a better guide to the Egyptian portion of the so-called Arab Spring than Khalil’s book Liberation Square…. [Khalil] offers plenty of wisdom, along with action-packed reportage, along the way.” —Christian Science Monitor“Compelling, nuanced, and engaging. . . . Blends astute observations with reportage of the demonstrations as they unfolded. . . . Khalil’s account is essential reading, evoking the urgency and vitality of the Arab spring’s Egyptian chapter.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Khalil’s illuminating reporting situates the revolt in the stultifying decades that preceded it…He does an admirable job pulling together the threads of the early dissident and activist efforts rooted in the late 1990s.” —The Daily Beast“A personal account that will be appreciated by those looking to move beyond the day's headlines, from one who wrote some of the stories published under those headlines.” —Kirkus Reviews
Ashraf Khalil has covered the Middle East for the The Times (London), The Economist, Foreign Policy, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Middle East edition of Rolling Stone. He worked as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in the Baghdad and Jerusalem bureaus and has been based in Cairo for most of the last fifteen years.
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