“Engaging, powerful and comprehensive. … [Cole] structures chapters with a handsome amount of narrative, peppering them with stories from his own travels and conversations undertaken in fluent Arabic. …The book feels as indispensable to scholars as it is insightful for a more casual reader.”
– Nathan Deuel, The Los Angeles Times
“[A] rousing study of the Arab Spring. … Cole’s deep, nuanced exploration of political and social currents underneath the uprisings shines; he shows Westerners who think the Arab world is divided between corrupt despots and Islamist zealots just how strong and pervasive the tendencies towards liberalism and democracy are.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Paints a nuanced picture of a fascinating generation. . . . The value of the book becomes apparent in the depth it provides to the simplistic, sound bite-ready explanations for the Arab Spring."
– William O'Connor, The Daily Beast
“An elegant, carefully delineated synthesis of the complicated, intertwined facets of the Arab uprisings.”
“Ambitious and largely successful… Cole’s account is rich and textured, and unexpectedly optimistic. Western readers may be surprised by the idealistic liberality and secularism of the young people he profiles. At the same time, Cole doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of his story. … The New Arabs distinguishes itself by presenting a full, rich spectrum of ideas and observations [and] is an indispensable work for the contemporary reader of Middle East history and politics. It grants backstage access to one of the 21st century’s most important social movements and illuminates the motives and methods of the young people who are remaking the region. Our first reaction to dramatic change is usually to oversimplify in order to 'understand.' Cole has the courage to tell a more complicated story, and that makes The New Arabs a vital read.”
– James Norton, The Christian Science Monitor
“[The New Arabs] is at its most illuminating when it takes the reader inside the youth movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, showing us how activists used technology and social media to amplify their message and connect with like-minded citizens across the region. … Mr. Cole chronicles it in fascinating detail here, recounting the stories of prominent dissidents and their often pioneering use of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and cellphone technology to network and organize.”
– Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[Cole's] comprehensive narrative of political events will long serve as a vital resource for those wanting to understand this era."
– Lawrence Rosen, The Guardian (UK)
"The New Arabs is at its best in its vivid recounting of the strange amalgamation of dissident bloggers, student groups, labor unions and repressed Islamists who succeeded in toppling the oppressive regimes.”
– The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette