The Other Side of the Mirror: An American Travels Through Syria (Paperback)
A well-written, well-researched, and engaging introduction to contemporary Syria.--Library Journal (starred review)
American travel writing at its most generous and intrepid.--Adam Kirsch
A nuanced appreciation of the sights, sounds, and historical densities that make Syria one of the most rewarding countries on Earth. Like the great cities of Damascus and Aleppo, The Other Side of the Mirror is a thing of layered beauty and a source of endless surprise and stimulation.--Ben Downing
Engaging...I can vouch for the accuracy of her descriptions.--Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books
Brooke Allen's The Other Side of the Mirror is a hugely welcome piece of travel literature...Anyone with a curiosity about this fascinating nation will be well served.--Tom Bissell
Brooke Allen first traveled to Syria in 2009, expecting it to be much as American news media routinely depicted it--an ultra-conservative Muslim society, a rogue nation committed to an anti-American stance. She found, instead, a welcoming and captivating country where she and her family were treated with courtesy and gentleness.
She soon returned for a more leisurely trip through Syria's rich historical and archaeological treasures: the ancient cities of Aleppo and Damascus, the great Crusader castles, the Bronze Age ruins of Ebla and Mari, the Greco-Roman cities of Palmyra and Apamea. With her keen and appreciative eye (and ear) Allen introduces us to Syria's people, culture, and history.
Published in spring of 2011 at the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the book has taken on a new resonance.
Brooke Allen's critical writings appear frequently in the New York Times Book Review, the Atlantic, and the Nation. Her Twentieth-Century Attitudes was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her most recent book is Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers.
"A well-written, well-researched, and engaging introduction to contemporary Syria."—Library Journal (starred review)
"Engaging.... I can vouch for the accuracy of her descriptions."—Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books