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The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history's violent return to Lebanon after 15 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 tent city built in downtown Beirut by anti-Syrian dissidents, is bullied and menaced by Hezbollah's supposedly friendly "media relations" department, crouches under fire on the Lebanese-Israeli border during the six-week war in 2006, witnesses an Israeli ground invasion from behind a line of Merkava tanks, sneaks into Hezbollah's post-war rubblescape without authorization, and is attacked in Beirut by militiamen who enforce obedience to the "resistance" at the point of a gun.
From the "Cedar Revolution" that ousted the occupying Syrian military regime in 2005, to the devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, and to Hezbollah's slow-motion but violent assault on Lebanon's elected government and capital, Totten's account is both personal and comprehensive. He simplifies the bewildering complexity of the Middle East, has access to major regional players as well as to the man on the street, and personally witnesses most of the events he describes. The Road to Fatima Gate should be indispensable reading for anyone interested in the Middle East, Iran's expansionist foreign policy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, asymmetric warfare, and terrorism in the aftermath of September 11.
Best book on Lebanon since Friedman's Beirut to Jerusalem and I read that in 1996.
Good narrator and a very interesting story about southern Lebanon and Hezbollah. The line the solution is not in Lebanon it is in Iran rings very true .
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I loved this almost as much as "Where the West Ends." Totten writes so beautifully conversationally and the narrator is amazing!
weaves together first-person narrative and political commentary into an insightful and entertaining whole. a relatively quick listen
If you could sum up The Road to Fatima Gate in three words, what would they be?
Hezbollah is Iran.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road to Fatima Gate?
The initial scene in chapter 1 where Prime Minister, Rafic Hariri, is killed in a car bomb blast. With that loss, Lebanon's future was crushed.
What does Steven Roy Grimsley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
This rich baritone narrator accurately captures the subtext of the narrative. The listen enhances the read.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The author's encounter with SSNP thugs.
Any additional comments?
Excellent Narration and Editing. Author, Michael J Totten, in first person narrative, describes Lebanon as a beautiful place which at one time had great hope. In this book, he details the aftermath of those dashed hopes which were destroyed by sectarian ambitions and violence. Lebanon is not a country, it is a violent episode of "Survivor."
Great piece of war reporting and first person journalism. Although the Arab Spring and consequent Syrian Civil War has shifted the situation on the ground dramatically from this book's publication, Totten's prescience about the escalating Sunni/ Shiite Saudi/ Iranian divide makes the book well worth visiting today. I hadn't been following Totten previously, but I will be going forward.
The audiobook suffers from poor editing at points, which can be confusing, but it does not overly interfere with the listening experience.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Repetitive at some time boring or he said in this book was a state within a state if you need to write history you gotta be in the middle and tells a story as it happens at the end or the conclusions when taken by events of today were wrong I wasted my money on this book
0 of 2 people found this review helpful