Until the Arab Spring of 2011, the world’s view of Bashar al-Assad was largely benign.
He and his wife, a former British banker, were viewed as philanthropic individuals doing their best to keep their country at peace.
So much so that a profile of Mrs Assad in American Vogue was headlined ‘The Rose in the Desert’.
Shortly after it appeared, Syria descended into the horrific civil war that has seen its cities reduced to rubble and thousands murdered and displaced, a civil war that is still raging over a decade later.
In this vivid and authoritative account Con Coughlin draws together all the strands of Assad’s remarkable story, revealing precisely how a young doctor ensured not only that he inherited the presidency from his father, but has held on to power by whatever means necessary, continuing to preside over one of the most brutal regimes of modern times.
‘Important, compelling, and detailed…a superb analysis of the West’s policy missteps and the tragic consequences of them’ – General David Petraeus