We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled by Wendy Pearlman
Voices from Syria

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Pearlman’s book is not only important because it puts names to suffering, but also because it reminds readers—especially in the final segment, “Reflections”—that in the Syrian conflict, “there is no right or wrong,” only problematic “shades of gray.”
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government’s ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our times.

Yet despite all the reporting, the video, and the wrenching photography, the stories of ordinary Syrians remain unheard, while the stories told about them have been distorted by broad brush dread and political expediency. This fierce and poignant collection changes that. Based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled is a breathtaking mosaic of first-hand testimonials from the frontlines. Some of the testimonies are several pages long, eloquent narratives that could stand alone as short stories; others are only a few sentences, poetic and aphoristic. Together, they cohere into an unforgettable chronicle that is not only a testament to the power of storytelling but to the strength of those who face darkness with hope, courage, and moral conviction.

 

About Wendy Pearlman

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Wendy Pearlman is the Crown Junior Chair in Middle East Studies and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in History from Brown University and earned her Ph.D. in Government at Harvard University, where she was the Karl Deutsch Fellow. Pearlman is the author of Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada, which was a Boston Globe and Washington Post best-seller and was featured on C-Span's Booknotes. She has published articles in International Security and Journal of Palestine Studies, as well as commentaries in the Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer, among other newspapers. Pearlman was a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, a Junior Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is also the winner of the 2011 Deborah Gerner Grant for Professional Development.
 
Published June 6, 2017 by Custom House. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled
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Kirkus

Good
on Apr 04 2017

Pearlman’s book is not only important because it puts names to suffering, but also because it reminds readers—especially in the final segment, “Reflections”—that in the Syrian conflict, “there is no right or wrong,” only problematic “shades of gray.”

Read Full Review of We Crossed a Bridge and It Tr... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Robin Yassin-Kassab on Aug 12 2017

It is a book that sheds necessary light and confounds misapprehensions, not least in that it reveals the roles of revolutionary women, usually invisible to the outside.

Read Full Review of We Crossed a Bridge and It Tr... | See more reviews from Guardian
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