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Distributed for Haus Publishing

My House in Damascus

An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis

How did Syria’s revolution reach this its current boiling point? And what’s next? This updated edition of My House in Damascus offers an insider’s view on these questions and the darker recesses of Syria’s history, politics, and society.

Diana Darke, a fluent Arabic speaker who moved to Damascus in 2004 after decades of regular visits, details how the Assad regime, and its relationship to the people, differs from the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya—and why it was thus always less likely to collapse quickly, even in the face of widespread unrest and violence. Through the author’s firsthand experiences of buying and restoring a house in the old city of Damascus, which she later offered as a sanctuary to friends, Darke presents a clear picture of the realities of life on the ground and what hope there is for Syria’s future. Including additional material on topics like the advance of the Islamic State, as well as a new epilogue describing the current turmoil surrounding her house and the refugees she tried to help, this edition of My House in Damascus powerfully documents the human cost of the ongoing civil war.

320 pages | 2 maps | 5 1/2 x 8 3/4 | © 2014

Biography and Letters

History: Middle Eastern History

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“[W]ritten with the pace of a novel and the colour of the best travel writing. . . . [T]he book offers much more than a personal memoir: it is an eclectic but learned encyclopedia of Syrian history, of the Arabs and their language and traditions, of Islamic art and architecture, and more.”

Times Literary Supplement

“[My House in Damascus] glows with . . . an understanding of and affection for the peoples of Syria.”

Irish Times

“Written with honesty, wit and affection.”

Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly

“Darke’s powerful, moving new book . . . elegantly contrasts a real estate dream with Syria’s ongoing violent reality. . . . Her sensitive, knowing story captures a rare view of Syria and the stakes of the conflict from an up-close observer deeply versed in its culture.”

New Republic

“A marvelous book—surely among the best and most sensitive of the hundreds published on Syria since war erupted. . . . Its pages brim with local characters and colors.”

Hürriyet Daily News

“[A] moving tribute . . . to the Syria that has been lost.”


“Humane and elegantly written.”


"Diana Darke brings her vivid eye and human sensitivity to a country we only know through recent bloodshed. I felt I had travelled deep into its heart when I finished her remarkable book."

Tina Brown

Table of Contents

1. Worlds of Conflict and Harmony
2. Unescorted
3. Escorted
4. Nobody’s Poodle
5. Into the Unknown
6. The Dead Auntie
7. Insurance Against Fate?
8. Revelations
9. Friends and Brides
10. The Donkey Between Two Carrots
11. The Law and Educational Corruption
12. Completion and the Caretaker
13. No Return
14. Monasteries and Desperation
15. Thugs and Tamerlane
16. The Triumph of Asabiyya
17. Future Imperfect and Perfect
Cast of Characters
A Note on the Choice of Clarity

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