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And here’s the first Arabic-language review of SR.


September 9, 2013

Thanks to Mahmoud Almuhaini of Asharq al-Awsat for the piece.

John Lanchester praises SR in The New Yorker.


August 13, 2013

“What if the really important year in recent history was 1979?… Caryl sees 1979 as a moment of counter-revolution, a swing of historical pendulum against the trends of the preceding decades. He makes a strong, sweeping case that the year ushered in, as his subtitle puts it, the birth of the twenty-first century.”

Check out the review (which also discusses two other recent books on Margaret Thatcher) here (warning: paywall).

European Voice includes SR in its list of recommended summer reads.


“I cannot recommend strongly enough Christian Caryl’s Strange Rebels…”

You can read the piece by Edward Lucas here.

Dominic Sandbrook in The Sunday Times: “I find his argument preposterous”


July 22, 2013

“In his conclusion, Caryl returns to the argument that all four characters were ‘counter-revolutionaries,’ fighting against a century of progressive left-wing politics ‘ranging from social democracy to Maoism.’ Alas, much as I enjoyed his book, I find his argument preposterous.”

You can read the review here (paywall).

Isaac Chotiner in The New York Times: “Well-written and thorough, but doesn’t really cohere”


“But what does he mean by ‘socialist utopias’? Presumably he’s being ironic, but either way, it makes little sense to compare postwar Labour governments (which were certainly subject to diminishing returns but which also gave birth to a highly successful welfare state) to the pathological murderousness of Mao’s China.”

You can read the review here.

James McAuley reviews Strange Rebels in Prospect (one of our favorite magazines).


July 19, 2013

“But it is also true that the same ‘certainty’ and even ‘arrogance’ for which Caryl faults social revolutionaries is equally applicable to his cast of counterrevolutionaries and their descendants. Are those compelled by the ‘twin forces’ of markets and religion not also convinced of the inevitable successes of their respective programs? Are we really trapped in the world that 1979 hath wrought until someone can up come up with ‘answers to the nagging metaphysical questions or forge new sources of identity that fullfill deeply rooted human needs as effectively as the old faiths’?”

You can read the review here.

“Summer of ’79″ – Francis Wheen discusses SR for Literary Review.


“My intended book about 1979 as a pivotal year eventually morphed into something different, a satirical account of how mumbo-jumbo had conquered the world. I found myself diverted into so many exotic byways – management gurus, astrology, ‘alternative medicine’ – that the original thesis was barely visible. Now Christian Caryl, a veteran American foreign correspondent, has given us the straight version, rather like the book I first imagined. It is a pleasure to read.”

You can read the review here.

And you can see Wheen’s excellent book, Strange Days Indeed, here.

Ian Thomson on SR in The Observer: “a compelling study”


“The forces unloosed in 1979 of free-market capitalism and politicized religion are with us still. Few had expected to live in such an unusual moment; Strange Rebels, superbly written, brings a tumultuous single year to life in all its proper significance.”

You can read his piece here.

Ferdinand Mount, former head of Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit, reviews Strange Rebels for The New York Review of Books: “a fascinating and original enterprise”


June 7, 2013

“What we need to proclaim is not the End of Ideology, as Daniel Bell put it, still less the End of History. What we need to advertise is the fragility that ideology shares with all human mental constructs. Even the most apparently monumental dominant ideology is vulnerable to erosion or fracture. By contrast, the underlying customs of the country may live longer because they lie closer to our hearts.”

“Throughout his fascinating and original enterprise, Caryl insists on the moral quality of these great turning points. The hope and intention, if not always the outcome, are to offer a sense of purpose and validation to millions of unvalued lives,,,”

You can read the review here.

Michael Kimmage in The New Republic: “a virtuoso of connection”


“By amalgamating distinct geographic areas and seemingly disparate historical forces, Caryl uncovers new and vivid questions.”

You can read the review here.