In introducing the excerpt, the editor writes:

News coming out of the Middle East is nearly always bad, so bad, it’s like a road accident. You just want to look away, and keep on going. There’s nothing you can do.

How did it all come to this? Keep reading. Below is an excerpt from Syria Burning by Charles Glass, a book that is so beautifully written that reading it is more like seeing. And you will not want to look away.

You will see—better than what any photograph could show—little fragments of history explode before your eyes, as you fly through time and space, now and then swooping down for a close-up of some detail that brings the larger truth into focus.

This book is about much more than Syria or the Middle East. It may be what the poet William Blake meant when he wrote “To see a world in a grain of sand.”

Or a drop of oil.

To read the excerpt, visit Who What Why.

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