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Fragile Nation, Shattered Land: The Modern History of Syria

James A. Reilly
Fragile Nation, Shattered Land: The Modern History of Syria
ISBN: 978-1-62637-749-3
Forthcoming October 2018/300 pages


How did the lands that are today Syria survive the vicissitudes of centuries of Ottoman, Egyptian, and French rule, only to stand in ruins today, shattered by a brutal civil war? To provide answers, James Reilly traces five centuries of Syrian history, from the Ottoman period to the present.

Reilly brings to life the myriad historical, cultural, social, economic, and political factors that have bound Syrians together, as well as those that have torn them apart. Drawing on extensive primary sources and recent historiography in English, French, and Arabic, he has written an essential book for those who want to understand not only contemporary Syria, but also the Middle East region.


James A. Reilly is professor of history at the University of Toronto. His previous publications include A Small Town in Syria and The Ottoman Cities of Lebanon.


  • Syria Becomes Ottoman.
  • Syria's "Long" Eighteenth Century.
  • The Modern State in Syria and the Final Decades of Ottoman Rule.
  • France and the Creation of the Syrian Territorial State.
  • Crises of Independent Statehood.
  • Thirty Years of al-Assad.
  • A False Spring and Gathering Storms. 
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