My book The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel will be available in bookstores on April 5. I’m also taking pre-orders for autographed copies which I will sign and mail personally as soon as the shipment arrives, which could be as early as March. (I will also make five times as much money per copy if you buy it directly from me and cut the stores and the distributors out of the loop.)
My publisher, Encounter Books, has done an absolutely fantastic job on both the inside and the outside. The aesthetics are perfect and I couldn’t be happier. Working with Roger Kimball and his staff has been an entirely positive experience.
Here is the book’s official description on the dust jacket:
The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history’s violent return to Lebanon after fifteen 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 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.
And here are the blurbs on the front and the back:
“Here is the book we’ve been waiting almost a decade for: a firsthand account, curious, subtle, clear-eyed and thus at turns critical and sympathetic, from the front lines of the Middle East where the war between obscurantism and freedom cannot help but impact U.S. interests, allies and citizens here at home–a narrative told by America’s premier reporter of the Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon.” — Lee Smith, author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations.
“I can think of only a certain number of people as having risen to the intellectual and journalistic challenges of the last few years, and Michael J. Totten is one of them.” — Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism and The Flight of the Intellectuals.
“It is extremely rare to read such an accurate account of anything to which one was oneself a witness.” — Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great.
“Michael J. Totten is one of a rare breed. Moving from front to front, he brings experience and context and the willingness to go where few men dare.” — Michael Yon, author of Moment of Truth in Iraq.
“The Road to Fatima Gate is a storm warning about a major change in the balance of power in the Middle East: Through its proxy Hezbollah, Iran is striving to gain control of Lebanon. That country could be dismembered, occupied or overtaken by war much as Czechoslovakia was after 1938, and every bit as fatefully. An intrepid reporter, Michael J. Totten bravely and skillfully draws on a lot of first-hand experience to explain the plight of Lebanese democratic personalities and political parties driven to defend themselves against the imposition of Iranian Islamism at gun-point. He is the right man in the right place at the right time.” — David Pryce-Jones, author of The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs.
“Michael J. Totten, to my mind, is one of the world’s most acute observers of Middle East politics. He is also an absolutely fearless reporter, both physically — he has explored the darkest corners of Middle East extremism — and morally. No one is as clear-eyed as Totten on the subject of Iran’s repressive regime, and in The Road to Fatima Gate he explains lucidly and grippingly the paramount importance of Iran and its proxies to Israel’s future, and to America’s.” — Jeffrey Goldberg, author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror and national correspondent at The Atlantic.
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