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SCOTT C DAVIS author & publisher interviewed by IAN WILLIAMS

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SCOTT C. DAVIS, wrote THE ROAD FROM DAMASCUS. he is also the publisher of Dr. Carsten Wieland's book, A DECADE OF LOST CHANCES.

In an account of his travels to Syria in 1987, Scott C. Davis not only introduces us to contemporary Syria, which, at the time of his initial journey, had just been named a "terrorist state" by the U.S. government, but also to the Syria of tradition, the crossroads of Western culture.

The book is a gold mine of history and colorful snapshots of people and places. As a subject, Syria would stagger even the most intrepid reporter. Since colonial times in the Arab world, parochial nationalisms have been consolidated at the expense of more universal ones; in Davis' narrative, this tension is palpable in the omnipresence of the secret police and the gut-wrenching effect their sudden appearance always has on him (and on a variety of Syrians, it seems). An American lugging a huge backpack, Davis must respond often to their arbitrary and sometimes unsettling demands. Though he renders these scenes as comedy, the episodes only reinforce the feeling that contemporary Syrians live on a knife-edge of history.

Davis is also publisher of A DECADE OF LOST CHANCES.

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