An Amazon ‘book of the month’ for March, Apple #iBooksFavorites, and New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

 

About No Turning BackThis astonishing book by the prize-winning journalist Rania Abouzeid tells the tragedy of the Syrian War through the dramatic stories of four young people seeking safety and freedom in a shattered country.

Extending back to the first demonstrations of 2011, No Turning Back dissects the tangle of ideologies and allegiances that make up the Syrian conflict. As protests ignited in Daraa, some citizens were brimming with a sense of possibility. A privileged young man named Suleiman posted videos of the protests online, full of hope for justice and democracy. A father of two named Mohammad, secretly radicalized and newly released from prison, saw a darker opportunity in the unrest. When violence broke out in Homs, a poet named Abu Azzam became an unlikely commander in a Free Syrian Army militia. The regime’s brutal response disrupted a family in Idlib province, where a nine-year-old girl opened the door to a military raid that caused her father to flee. As the bombings increased and roads grew more dangerous, these people’s lives intertwined in unexpected ways.

Rania Abouzeid brings readers deep inside Assad’s prisons, to covert meetings where foreign states and organizations manipulated the rebels, and to the highest levels of Islamic militancy and the formation of ISIS. Based on more than five years of clandestine reporting on the front lines, No Turning Back is an utterly engrossing human drama full of vivid, indelible characters that shows how hope can flourish even amid one of the twenty-first century’s greatest humanitarian disasters.

  US COVER (W.W. Norton) 

US COVER (W.W. Norton) 

  UK COVER (OneWorld)

UK COVER (OneWorld)


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reviews

The civil war in Syria is the most catastrophic event of our time, and the most dimly understood. Most journalists won’t go near it. Rania Abouzeid has produced a work of stunning reportage from the very heart of the conflict, daring to go to the most dangerous places in order to get the story. The result is a sensational book that allows us a deeper, and more humane, understanding of this terrible war; it’s a credit to Abouzeid’s bravery and fortitude.
— Dexter Filkins, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Forever War
Rania Abouzeid has not just written a powerful human story of the most tangled war of our time. This is journalism at its very best: brave; personal; written with aching beauty. She has rewritten history’s first draft with great authority.
— Lyse Doucet, BBC presenter and chief international correspondent
In No Turning Back, Rania Abouzeid brings you up close and personal to the men and women who led the uprising in Syria. Abouzeid understands these people so well and her writing is so vivid that they practically jump off the page with all their dreams, ideals, and misplaced optimism. After No Turning Back, you won’t be able to hear anything more about Syria without feeling that you too know the people who are living (and dying) through it.
— Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood
No Turning Back stands far above anything I have read about the Syrian war. Rania Abouzeid has produced a masterpiece, weaving together the lives of protesters, victims, and remorseless killers at the center of this century’s most appalling human tragedy. No one else, to my knowledge, has reported this story so bravely or narrated it with such intimacy and power.
— Robert F. Worth, author of A Rage for Order. The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS
A fabulous and illuminating account of the Syrian conflict told by a world-class journalist at the height of her powers. This is about real people, their real stories and how they web together to tell the wider story of a nation in crisis. A rich and rewarding book that informs, excites and inspires. A truly first-class piece of high-end reportage.
— Tim Butcher, author of The Trigger, Blood River, and Chasing the Devil
Rania Abouzeid has written an intimate portrait of a chaotic war. Her profiles of Syrians caught up in the savage unraveling of the country heightens the tragedy, a lens missing from the news stories. This book is a must read for anyone who has watched the seemingly incomprehensible horror and for policymakers who must try to stop the violence.
— Deborah Amos, author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Widely recognized as the bravest of reporters… Abouzeid writes with great fluidity and authority about the most important foreign policy and moral crisis of our era. No Turning Back works both on the level of deeply reported personal narratives of a tragedy that continues to unspool and also as a major work of history.
— Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad and Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden
Masterful, intense … Abouzeid’s altogether intimate, revealing, and moving accomplishment is essential to any attempt to understand this tragedy.
— Booklist (starred review)
A brilliant, detailed work on a devastating topic.
— Library Journal
[F]inely detailed … a formidable accomplishment.
— Publishers Weekly
Weaving together the lives of mothers and sons, fighters and civilians, the oppressors and the oppressed in one epic journey, Rania tells the story of a nation in the grips of revolution and social upheaval. From the initial feeling of hope to the ultimate struggle for survival, this is an essential read not only for those interested in Syria and the Middle East, but for anyone who strives to understand the mechanics of a society torn by civil war.
— Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Middle East correspondent for the Guardian
Harrowing reporting from the front lines of the civil war in Syria. An eye-opening account of those who “played a pivotal role in the revolution’s trajectory.”
— Kirkus
Journalist Rania Abouzeid lets the Syrian people speak for themselves in her sprawling chronicle of the country’s brutal civil war. Abouzeid spent five years undercover to chronicle her subjects’ lives; she had to sneak into the country after being exiled and branded a spy. Her in-depth reporting provides powerful, harrowing context to the headlines about airstrikes and sanctions. Abouzeid has a deep knowledge of the factions and politics fueling the Syrian conflict, but it’s her ground-level snapshots of rallies, raids, and bombings that make No Turning Back so singular and powerful.
— Apple iBooks (#iBookfavorite)

'no turning back’ in the news

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Excerpt in The New York Times Sunday Review

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[A] book of dogged reporting. “Syria has ceased to exist as a unified state,” Abouzeid writes, but her book ensures that the stories of its people will endure.

NPR, WNYC, and BBC

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“Her narrative …. offers page after page of extraordinary reporting and many flashes of exquisitely descriptive prose. But it is the characters around whom the story is build who make the book unforgettable … The result is a tremendous sense of intimacy with the victims and the violence that surrounds them. Abouzeid’s remarkable journalistic and literary work has given us, at last, a book worthy of the enormous tragedy that is Syria.”

*SELECTED AS NEW YORK TIMES ‘EDITORS' CHOICE’

* NYT ‘8 New Books We Recommend This Week’

* NYT ‘Making Sense of The Syrian Civil War’   

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Excerpt in the Financial Times

New America Washington DC. March 15, 2018. Video starts at 15.20

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New York Times Magazine, ‘At War,’  Q&A with C.J. Chivers

March 15, 2018

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Christian Science Monitor Book Review

No Turning Back selected as one of  the newspaper’s ’10 Best Books of March.’ 

MSNBC Morning Joe First Look

March 19, 2018

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National Geographic Book Talk

CNN Fareed Zakaria’s GPS

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“[An] unparalleled account of the Syrian uprising, drawing on six years of immersive reporting.”

France 24. The Interview, with Francois Picard

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“Excellent … [P]robably the most perceptive journalistic account of the war so far, highlighting the individual stories while never losing sight of the broader situation and history …. Abouzeid’s understated bravery and ability to merge into the background speak to the power of immersive eyewitness reporting, foregrounding the experience of the people she meets and writing with modesty.” 

PBS NEWSHOUR: Rania Abouzeid has been one of the closest chroniclers of the Syrian conflict, witnessing the first days of peaceful protests, the government's brutal crackdown, the rise of the Islamic State, the intervention of the Russians. Abouzeid joins William Brangham to discuss her book, "No Turning Back: Life, Loss and Hope in Wartime Syria," which tells the story of those who have fought and endured.

 
Abouzeid carefully disentangles the significance of complex and shifting political, ethnic and religious identities involved, and provides expert historical and political context, maintaining strict objectivity and taking no sides. … This may be the most intimate and epic account yet for the ongoing tragedy of the Syrian civil war.
— Shelf Awareness Book Review
An astonishing work, in its ambition, its scope and its humanity … These stories are woven with consummate skill by Abouzeid who does not moralize and does not judge. Through their lived experiences she has shown the human faces, the human suffering behind the headlines.
— The New Internationalist Book Review
Indispensable. A masterpiece: a forensic, yet accessible anatomy of how a peaceful uprising was hijacked by external forces who cared less about ridding Syria of dictator Bashar aI-Assad
than furthering their own agendas … Abouzeid writes compellingly throughout.
— The Big Issue magazine Book Review
 
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"An extraordinary book on the human cost of the Syrian conflict. … [It] succeeds triumphantly because of the skill and sensitivity of Abouzeid's writing, the depth of her reporting and the extraordinary nature of the stories she tells. As a result, her book has the compelling qualities of a novel, rather than simply a work of reportage."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"A stunning take on Syria’s tragedy. … Abouzeid’s writing is clear, her analysis sharp, her sympathy deep. … The best book I have read on the descent of Syria into dark hell and humanitarian disaster. … Engrossing."

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"To this terrible story, Rania Abouzeid brings bravery, granular vision and stringent sympathy. … You just can't get border crossings, bribes, midnight journeys, disguises, bombing raids, and arrest warrants from a Twitter feed — only from the notebook of a real reporter. Yet there are no heroics here. The experience of Abouzeid's subjects is always more important than her own, a journalistic discipline as welcome as it is rare. No Turning Back won’t tell you what to think about Syria. It will tell you how to think about a war without end, with the humility and compassion Abouzeid's craft inspires."