“Veteran Middle East hand Shelly Culbertson weaves history, culture, politics, and economics into a cohesive narrative…more

David Holahan

The Christian Science Monitor

“The Fires of Spring is exceptionally well written, balanced, judicious, and insightful. It is an impressive blend of travelogue, history, and analysis that shows that the changes initiated by the Arab Spring are still working themselves out in ways that are not fully predictable, but perhaps more positive than the current scene might lead one to believe.”

James Dobbins

Senior Fellow with the RAND Corporation and former Assistant Secretary of State

“The Arab Spring set in motion processes of change in the Middle East that will last for decades. We can try to understand its significance through statistics and expert reports. Or we can follow the stories of individuals, trying to understand the region in the round. The Fires of Spring tells those stories across six countries. It is a compelling and enlightening read.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter

President and CEO, New America

“This book has captured the essence of this historic transformation the Arab world is going through. The complexities, frustrations and hopes of the period which was at first romantically called ‘the Arab Spring’ are vividly brought to the reader through a journey across countries with different experiences and people with varied outlooks. Shelly Culbertson has masterfully painted a picture of the current challenges facing the region, and more importantly of the promise the future might bring.”

Marwan Muasher

Vice-President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“Culbertson’s narrative builds on the interviews with leaders and intellectuals of the countries she visits. The extensively quoted texts create immediate credibility. Commentators reflect on their own experience as witnesses to the upheaval. Their accounts are often moving and poignant.”

John J. Hohn

Book Pleasures

“Her interviews and observations are careful and shrewd; she knows the region and understands how systemic inertia slows the processes of political change.”

Philip Seib

Special Contributor, The Dallas Morning News

“A well-documented, brave, and useful overview…more

Kirkus Reviews

“Shelly Culbertson is a sensitive observer with a deep knowledge of the developments in the Middle East since the Arab Spring. Travelling through six very different countries, she unravels the similarities and differences of their predicaments, and shows that long term optimism is still possible despite the huge challenges they face. Her book is an example of what travel writing should really be, and shows that no one should despair despite the dreadful conflicts that are raging in parts of the region.”

John McHugo

author of A Concise History of the Arabs and Syria: A History of the last Hundred Years

“This first-​person account of working in complicated places matches the professional rigor of RAND with her open eyes and heart.”

John Allison

Pittsburgh Quarterly

“The author has woven a glorious tapestry of people, history and sometimes unspoken analysis that provides the reader the raw material to draw his or her own conclusions.”

Mercury News

“The author has woven a glorious tapestry of people, history and sometimes unspoken analysis that provides the reader the raw material to draw his or her own conclusions.”

Dan Simpson

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Culbertson walks through the citadels of Amman and Carthage and the pyramids of Egypt, vividly illustrating the omnipresence of the ancient in the modern; her treatment of the Ottoman Empire’s demise is particularly illuminating.”

Publishers Weekly

The Fires of Spring is a wonderful, penetrating, and sympathetic look at six Middle Eastern societies rent by the turmoil of the Arab spring and deep-rooted conflict. Through interviews with a multitude of characters and travelogue of the highest order, Culbertson opens a window into the cultural dilemmas, daily hardships and political dramas playing out from Ankara to Cairo.”

Linda Robinson

New York Times bestselling author of Masters of Chaos, Tell Me How This Ends and One Hundred Victories

“[A] comprehensive and probing analysis of the Arab Spring’s impact… A book rich in invaluable information about both current conditions and possible future trends in Middle Eastern life and politics.”

Carl Hays

Booklist