The Fall of the House of Assad
Yale University Press 2012
In Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad (Yale University Press, 2012), David Lesch uses his firsthand knowledge of the Assad regime to explain the current crisis. Through the experience gained during his many trips to Syria, and numerous meetings with Bashar al-Assad, Lesch is able to provide an explanation of how Assad has been able to stay in power through numerous crises prior to the 2011 uprising. He analyzes Assad’s transition from reluctant president, to self-proclaimed savior of Syria, and ultimately brutal dictator. While Assad is commonly thought of as merely another Arab tyrant who is soon to fall, Lesch’s unique experience interacting with various members of the Assad regime, including Bashar al-Assad and his wife, enable him to portray the Syrian president in a three-dimensional manner. His description of Assad isn’t meant to excuse the atrocities he’s committed, but rather to provide an understanding of the motivations behind Assad’s actions. Lesch is able to use his knowledge of the regime, and Syria itself, to go beyond the headlines and explain the complex history that has led to the present crisis. As Lesch explains in the interview, “The Fall of the House of Assad” isn’t meant to signify that the regime has, or even soon will be toppled, but rather to illustrate that Assad has lost his mandate to govern. In the eyes of Lesch, and millions of Syrians, Bashar al-Assad has fallen from being the great hope he once was.