Christian C. SahnerFeb 12, 2015
Among the Ruins
Syria Past and Present
University Press 2014
Christian C. Sahner's Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present (Oxford University Press, 2014) resists easy categorization into genre: it as at once a travel log, an impassioned lecture on Syrian antiquity, and a commentary on Syria's long journey into its present disaster. Sahner offers a unique perspective as an academic with a strong grasp of Levantine geopolitics and archaeology alike, and ably traces back the fault lines of modern Syria to the events of the region's late antique period. His interactions with locals during his extended stays in the region, which he documented in a diary that would later become the seed for the book, offer fascinating anecdotes that shed light onto Syrian civil society's perceptions of itself. I expect the book will be enjoyed by a wide audience, including scholars intrigued by geopolitics, travellers interested in a deeper context, and policymakers with a penchant for history.