When Syrian President Bashar Assad came to power upon his father"s death in 2000, many inside and outside Syria held high hopes that he would bring long-awaited reform and guide his nation toward genuine democracy. Trinity University history professor David W. Lesch, Ph.D., was one of those who saw this promise in the younger Assad. Yet for Lesch and millions of others, Assad was destined to disappoint.
A widely respected Middle East scholar and consultant, Lesch came to know Assad through a series of meetings between 2004 and 2009. In "Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad" (September 2012, Yale University Press), he explores Assad"s failed leadership, his transformation from bearer of hope to reactionary tyrant, and his regime"s violent response to the uprising of his people in the wake of the Arab Spring. Drawing on his firsthand experience with the president and members of the ruling elite as well as on extensive research, Lesch scrutinizes Assad"s turn toward repression and charts the inexorable steps toward the violence of 2011 and 2012. The book examines the causes of the Syrian uprising, the regime"s tactics to remain in power, the responses of other nations to the bloodshed, and the determined efforts of regime opponents. In a thoughtful conclusion, the author suggests scenarios that could unfold in Syria"s uncertain future.