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Revolution for Dummies

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"The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East. Bassem Youssef’s incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg "The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East. Bassem Youssef’s incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation’s dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock. So potent were Youssef’s skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government’s announcement that it had created the world’s first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative—recruited by Jon Stewart—to bring down the country through sarcasm. There’s much more—and it’s all insanely true. Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef’s humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs.

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"The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East. Bassem Youssef’s incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg "The Jon Stewart of the Arabic World"—the creator of The Program, the most popular television show in Egypt’s history—chronicles his transformation from heart surgeon to political satirist, and offers crucial insight into the Arab Spring, the Egyptian Revolution, and the turmoil roiling the modern Middle East. Bassem Youssef’s incendiary satirical news program, Al-Bernameg (The Program), chronicled the events of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of Mubarak’s successor, Mohamed Morsi. Youssef not only captured his nation’s dissent but stamped it with his own brand of humorous political criticism, in which the Egyptian government became the prime laughing stock. So potent were Youssef’s skits, jokes, and commentary, the authoritarian government accused him of insulting the Egyptian presidency and Islam. After a six-hour long police interrogation, Youssef was released. While his case was eventually dismissed, his television show was terminated, and Youssef, fearful for his safety, fled his homeland. In Revolution for Dummies, Youssef recounts his life and offers hysterical riffs on the hypocrisy, instability, and corruption that has long animated Egyptian politics. From the attempted cover-up of the violent clashes in Tahrir Square to the government’s announcement that it had created the world’s first "AIDS cure" machine, to the conviction of officials that Youssef was a CIA operative—recruited by Jon Stewart—to bring down the country through sarcasm. There’s much more—and it’s all insanely true. Interweaving the dramatic and inspiring stories of the development of his popular television show and his rise as the most contentious funny-man in Egypt, Youssef’s humorous, fast-paced takes on dictatorship, revolution, and the unforeseeable destiny of democracy in the Modern Middle East offers much needed hope and more than a few healing laughs.

30 review for Revolution for Dummies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed Arabey

    I never thought I'd recommend this book to any non-Egyptian who wish to know how Orwellian we get after a Dummy of a Revolution.. It may be not 'neutral', but it's just accurate.. من بعد الوقف الأورويلي لبرنامج البرنامج ، اللي كان ظاهرة لم تتكرر في تاريخ التليفزيون العربي..بيرجع لنا باسم يوسف بكتاب الغريب أنه في مقدمته بيقول أنها قصة حياته مش كتاب تاريخ...أنت غلطان ياباسم ده كتاب تاريخ وكمان تقليب مواجع..كتاب زاد من اكتئابي من ثورة أشتعلت بشكل مفاجئ ، لعملاء وجواسيس وعلاقات جنسية كاملة ، لموت مفاجئ " I never thought I'd recommend this book to any non-Egyptian who wish to know how Orwellian we get after a Dummy of a Revolution.. It may be not 'neutral', but it's just accurate.. من بعد الوقف الأورويلي لبرنامج البرنامج ، اللي كان ظاهرة لم تتكرر في تاريخ التليفزيون العربي..بيرجع لنا باسم يوسف بكتاب الغريب أنه في مقدمته بيقول أنها قصة حياته مش كتاب تاريخ...أنت غلطان ياباسم ده كتاب تاريخ وكمان تقليب مواجع..كتاب زاد من اكتئابي من ثورة أشتعلت بشكل مفاجئ ، لعملاء وجواسيس وعلاقات جنسية كاملة ، لموت مفاجئ "شرعي" للثورة ، لجمعة قندهار والأسلام قادم ، وليالي أضواء البرلمان ، لشهداء ماسبيرو ، وأيه اللي وداها هناك؟ ، للفيلم المسئ ، وجبنة نستو يا معفنين ، والحالة العجيبة لأبو أسماعيل والأهرامات المبنية بالدعارة ، ثم نصف ثورة أخري واستبدال حكم ديني بحكم عسكري، وكان عندك أيدز وراح I Believe in Scince :) لتسجيل المكالمات وعرضها في التليفزيون ، ، أبلة فاهيتا ورموزها ، لمتع السخرية علي الذات العسكرية بيتخلل ده ، زي ماقالت المقدمة ، قصة نجاح باسم يوسف ، المؤلف وتقريبا أهم قصة في مسيرته المهنية ... من دكتور قلب لمحاولة عمل فيديوهات ساخرة من النظام علي اليوتيوب -قبل الغزو الساخر الماسخ اللي حصل بعد منه- لعشقه لجون ستيوارت الرهيب ومحاولة صنع ما يشبه برنامجه بأقل الامكانيات لأنتقاله لأول مرة للتليفزيون تحت إدارة قناة يملكها رجل أعمال مسيحي ، في وقت صعود تيار صاخب من "الأسلام السياسي" لحكم مصر لتلقيبه بكلب ساويسرس "رجل الاعمال" ، ثم كلب امريكا ثم أنتقاله لقناة أكبر ، وتحقيقه لحلم عمل برنامج شبيه فعلا بجون ستيوارت ثم مقابلته لجون ستيوارت قد اكون لست من كبار معجبي باسم يوسف، ولدي ملاحظات كثير عن اسلوبه الوقح احيانا -ليس الساخر وانما الوقح- ولا أنكر ان الكتاب أهدي إلي مع وعد أنني قد أقيمه بنجمة لكنه فعلا جذبني من مقدمته لكن عوضا عن تقديم درس تاريخ ساحق، سأحكي لكم قصتي-ماذا حدث لي أثناء وقوع الثورة، ودوري الغير متوقع بها. نعم، "قصتي" تجعلني أبدو مهما، لكنها حقا حيلة لأجعلك مهتما!، بحق الجحيم، ربما تفكر الآن أنني مغرورا أبن عاهرة لأني أعتقد أن الناس قد تشتري كتابا لقراءة "قصتي"، وأنت محق في هذا؛ -ابن مين انا في مصر عشان يتعملي كتاب؟ "السطر الاخير فقط من تعديلي، ايموشن باسم سمرة" إلا أن المقدمة أضحكتني كثيرا اليوم وأعتقد انني وقعت في حب هذا الكتاب كتاب الكتاب، مع باسم يوسف لكن الحقيقة ، الكتاب فعلا بيرصد الثورة من وجهة نظر ظريفة وشاملة ....غير محايدة طبعا لكن ده ميمنعش أنها حقيقية وحتي الكلام عن الشريعة وتاريخ الحكم في مصر من الستينات ورعاية أمريكا للمجاهدين فعلا مكتوب بشكل حلو جدا وحتي نهايته ، برغم من وقاحة سطره الأخير التشاؤمي لكنه للاسف حقيقي ساكمل مقتطفات من الكتاب.. مش عارف حقيقي المفروض ده لو اترجم يبقي بالعامية ولا باللغة العربية...ححاول امزج بين الاتنين :) تفتكرو حينزل في مكتبات مصر ولا حيتقضي مضروب بس؟ ولا حد حيقدر يترجمه ولا حياخد نفس الحكم الاورويلي محمد العربي في 26 أبريل 2017

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I must confess that I won "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring" in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is not a book that I ever would have purchased. Such wonderful serendipity that this terrific work came my way! Like most Americans, my knowledge of events in modern Egypt could be written on the head of a pin, with room left over for the Gettysburg Address. Bassem Youssef, quite possibly the world's most unlikely television star, shines an unwavering light on his homeland's rece I must confess that I won "Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring" in a Goodreads Giveaway, and it is not a book that I ever would have purchased. Such wonderful serendipity that this terrific work came my way! Like most Americans, my knowledge of events in modern Egypt could be written on the head of a pin, with room left over for the Gettysburg Address. Bassem Youssef, quite possibly the world's most unlikely television star, shines an unwavering light on his homeland's recent events and his role in them. And what events they are! He describes a veritable festival of murder, terror, betrayal, political incompetence, religious intolerance, willful ignorance, avarice, and many other hallmarks of general political and societal collapse. Although he writes as a satirist and not as an academic of any description, his unflinching eye and keen intellect bring the Egyptian Revolution and it's aftermath into sharp focus, and his injection of humor does little to mitigate the horror of it all. A very surprising, and quite disturbing, facet of this narrative is the appalling parallels between the methods of operation employed by the corrupt and incompetent Egyptian government and the present American leadership as piloted by Donald Trump. Bold faced and patently absurd lies buttressed and defended by yet more comically infantile lies, both willful and unintentional ignorance of reality and pertinent facts, the creation and presentation of Bogey Men as the public's real enemies to draw attention away from their utter lack of competence as leaders, and many other blood curdling similarities are starkly apparent. This is a far more interesting and important work than it's rather silly title would suggest. Initially, it's seems simply to chronicle the tragic political collapse of Egypt, but it ultimately serves as a warning to humanity of how easily a country can slip into chaos if incompetent leadership is allowed to proliferate unchecked.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Huda Yahya

    اللي يرفعهولنا بي دي اف ليه دعوتين حلوين :D

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Kimmet

    Wow Several years ago, I came back from Afghanistan with a narrow view of Muslims. I got home and the lone wolf killings began. I spouted some of the same vitriol that Trump people use today. As the years passed and I started to remember in my blind rage that I had Muslim friends, I am an American, and how can I justify stereotyping? took affect. But I couldn't name my confusion. I saw Bassem Youssef for the first time on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This was in my rage phase. I was confused. Wow Several years ago, I came back from Afghanistan with a narrow view of Muslims. I got home and the lone wolf killings began. I spouted some of the same vitriol that Trump people use today. As the years passed and I started to remember in my blind rage that I had Muslim friends, I am an American, and how can I justify stereotyping? took affect. But I couldn't name my confusion. I saw Bassem Youssef for the first time on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This was in my rage phase. I was confused. He was nothing like I expected or had experienced....it got me thinking even harder. This book did it for me. And early. He gave focus and clarity to my confusion and named it. Muslim vs. Islamist. And I laughed the whole time. In spite of it being terribly depressing. I have read all the wonky books, and rarely read a book like this, but this is the best depiction, description, and clarifying read I have had on the subject. Probably because it was as if we were having a conversation instead of a lecture. Would any of us be strong enough to be this guy? I hope so, but I also know we won't have to find out. We're lucky, and very lucky that Dr. Youssef got here with his family before we banned Muslims. We are better for it. At least we can change things for real every four years. We take that for granted. Thank you, Dr. Youssef.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Although there are moments that I found myself laughing, like all satirical comedy, it's the truths in between that really made me sit up and pay attention. Referred to as the Egyptian Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef takes Western readers into the heart of the events around the Arab Spring. Not what our Western media tells us happened, but what actually transpired and what it all means for Egyptians. I am glad that I gave this book a chance. Definitely recommend!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    "The textbook of fear is the same everywhere." Bassem Youssef has a unique voice and a great way of telling a serious, important story without being horribly depressing. He is a comedian and uses his wit and intelligence to explain how his life in Egypt changed with the Arab Spring and ensuing troubles. As someone who has always had a particular interest in Egypt, this was a truly gripping, eye-opening read. I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to better understand the conflicts and histo "The textbook of fear is the same everywhere." Bassem Youssef has a unique voice and a great way of telling a serious, important story without being horribly depressing. He is a comedian and uses his wit and intelligence to explain how his life in Egypt changed with the Arab Spring and ensuing troubles. As someone who has always had a particular interest in Egypt, this was a truly gripping, eye-opening read. I would highly recommend it to anyone trying to better understand the conflicts and history of this country. Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Mae

    I enjoyed this entertaining and surprisingly heart-felt look at the Arab Spring in Egypt from the top satirist from that country, rightly compared to Jon Stewart. We trace his career as a heart surgeon to a comedian hosting the most popular Egyptian television show. I have a pretty limited understanding of Arab politics, and the author gives a clear explanation that he says is probably too simplistic, but that's not what this book is aiming for! He's here to talk about comedy in a oppressive reg I enjoyed this entertaining and surprisingly heart-felt look at the Arab Spring in Egypt from the top satirist from that country, rightly compared to Jon Stewart. We trace his career as a heart surgeon to a comedian hosting the most popular Egyptian television show. I have a pretty limited understanding of Arab politics, and the author gives a clear explanation that he says is probably too simplistic, but that's not what this book is aiming for! He's here to talk about comedy in a oppressive regime and the life and death of his TV show! And he delivers. Plenty of warnings for our country's current political situation, too. The chapters are frequently brief, so this makes for a great lunchtime read if your time is limited. Definitely recommended!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hiba Arrame

    I thought I was going to read another trashy book by some TV-show host, but no, I did not. I surely did not just finish a trashy book. This is not just a book about Bassem Youssef himself and what he and those close to him had to go through during the Egyptian revolution and after, but also a fair retelling of what really happened, not a news representation, but one that comes from someone who really went through it all, and was there to witness what actually happened. This was all brought in a fu I thought I was going to read another trashy book by some TV-show host, but no, I did not. I surely did not just finish a trashy book. This is not just a book about Bassem Youssef himself and what he and those close to him had to go through during the Egyptian revolution and after, but also a fair retelling of what really happened, not a news representation, but one that comes from someone who really went through it all, and was there to witness what actually happened. This was all brought in a funny frame, trying to maybe let loose some of those knots that form up in us when we're talking about the Arab spring. I also learned so many things I ignored about Bassem Youssef, the heart surgeon who shifted from a medical career to a "threat" to the oppressive regimes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because I watched Bassem's "Tickling Giants" documentary before reading this and they both cover a lot of the same ground.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nada EL Shabrawi

    I missed Basem’s sense of humor. However the book is designed for people who haven’t been around during this crazy time. So I didn’t find it useful for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fatima

    I don't know what to think of this book. It paints what I believe is a fair retelling of what happened in Egypt during the Arab Spring and the events that followed (bear in mind, I'm not Egyptian). It was off to a good start, but somewhere around the middle things started to unravel. I felt like Bassem was trying to justify himself and his choices. Primarily that of leaving his country. And I couldn't help but sense his bitterness over what happened. Bassem was undeniably a phenomenon in the Ara I don't know what to think of this book. It paints what I believe is a fair retelling of what happened in Egypt during the Arab Spring and the events that followed (bear in mind, I'm not Egyptian). It was off to a good start, but somewhere around the middle things started to unravel. I felt like Bassem was trying to justify himself and his choices. Primarily that of leaving his country. And I couldn't help but sense his bitterness over what happened. Bassem was undeniably a phenomenon in the Arab World, and now he's been abandoned, almost forgotten. His feelings are absolutely understandable, but they were the weakness of this book. The last third was him blaming everyone around him for what happened. While he was making fun of conspiracy theorists, he himself built a conspiracy theory that puts him as the victim of evil plotters. He painted himself as the hero Egypt needed but didn't deserve, a man of morals where literally everyone around him was corrupt. While this is somewhat right, he didn't take any responsibility over the events, not even a bit. (in my opinion, you don't sign a contract with MBC without selling at least a bit of your soul). This whole holier-than-thou attitude is a sign that he wrote this book too soon, that he still needs time to process what happened, to admit to mistakes made, and to eventually give a more balanced view.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hameed Younis

    رغم ان هذا الكاتب كان يعتبر ليبرالياً متطرفاً في يوماً ما الا ان هذا الكتاب ينفي كل المزاعم والشكوك التي القت ظلالها على شخص باسم يوسف الشخصية الاكثر اثارة للجدل في الشرق الاوسط قبل ثلاث سنوات من الآن ولا انكر ان هذا الكاتب له الحق (نوعاً ما) بما يشكو ويتحجث، لكونه لاقى ما لاقى على ايدي الاسلاميين المتطرفين وعلى ايدي اليبراليين على حد سواء، وهذا كله القى ظلاله عليه فكان لنا اعلامياً لا يتكرر، على الاقل في هذا العقد الحالي الذي نعيش فيه اقتبس للكاتب هذه الكلمات الرائعة التي تمحو عنه الكثير من الالتب رغم ان هذا الكاتب كان يعتبر ليبرالياً متطرفاً في يوماً ما الا ان هذا الكتاب ينفي كل المزاعم والشكوك التي القت ظلالها على شخص باسم يوسف الشخصية الاكثر اثارة للجدل في الشرق الاوسط قبل ثلاث سنوات من الآن ولا انكر ان هذا الكاتب له الحق (نوعاً ما) بما يشكو ويتحجث، لكونه لاقى ما لاقى على ايدي الاسلاميين المتطرفين وعلى ايدي اليبراليين على حد سواء، وهذا كله القى ظلاله عليه فكان لنا اعلامياً لا يتكرر، على الاقل في هذا العقد الحالي الذي نعيش فيه اقتبس للكاتب هذه الكلمات الرائعة التي تمحو عنه الكثير من الالتباسات والتشكيك الذي اصاب شخصه من قبل، فيقول في نهاية الكتاب قبل ان تكره يجب ان تخاف، وهذا حال جميع الانظمة في الشرق الاوسط، او حتى لدى ترامب في الولايات المتحدة او لسياسيو بريكست في بريطانيا، الخوف هو دائما سلاحهم الاشد، الخوف من اللاجئين، من الناس الذين لا تبدو هيئتهم كأشكالنا، الخوف من فقدان الدين والهوية، الخوف من الحرب، ومن الدمار الذي لا محال سيقع اذا لم تتبع دكتاتورك بصورة عمياء، او ببساطة، الخوف من التعامل مع الحقائق، الواقع، والعلم، لأن الحقيقة هي ليست بالضرورة صديقتهم. Before you hate you first need to fear. And this is what all these regimes in the Middle East, or even Trump in America or those pro-Brexit politicians in Britain are so good at. Fear has always been their best weapon. Fear of refugees, of people who don’t look like us, fear of “losing our religion and identity,” fear of war, and the destruction that will happen if you don’t blindly follow your dictator, or simply the fear arising from dealing with facts, reality, and “and science, because truth is not really their friend”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hussein

    Hilarious and Painful. Containes information we -the public- do not know about what happened to Bassem Youssef , his show and why he left the country suddenly. For Non-Egyptians this a really scary bedtime story but for Egyptians this is their damn Real life! I cried, laughed, rewatched the YouTube Videos, and reminisced all the glorious moments and disappointments while reading this book. Highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eslam Mohammed

    Till I consider having another look at it later.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Albaraa Najjar

    سيرة ذاتية مختصرة موجهة للجمهور الأمريكي عن قصة باسم يوسف الاعلامية .. مثل برنامج البرنامج كانت ممتعة، مفيدة قليلاً، غير محايدة تماماً ومليئة بالسخرية.

  16. 5 out of 5

    J.D.

    Heartbreaking The "Jon Stewart of Egypt" describes his role in the Arab Spring and his view of its tragic failure, as Egypt went from hope to hypocritical religious dictatorship to a secular military dictatorship that was even worse and even more absurd. At one point the military announced that they'd developed a machine that cured Hepatitis C, cancer, and impotence, and their supporters believed it completely, saying any evidence to the contrary was a fake news conspiracy to make Egypt look bad Heartbreaking The "Jon Stewart of Egypt" describes his role in the Arab Spring and his view of its tragic failure, as Egypt went from hope to hypocritical religious dictatorship to a secular military dictatorship that was even worse and even more absurd. At one point the military announced that they'd developed a machine that cured Hepatitis C, cancer, and impotence, and their supporters believed it completely, saying any evidence to the contrary was a fake news conspiracy to make Egypt look bad (sound familiar?) Bassem Youseff's narrative is filled with humor, but also anger and deep sorrow for what his country has become. A must-read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    ريفيو مؤقت لغاية ما افضى اكتب ريفيو . . . . هو الكتاب ده مكنش وقته خاااالص بس الصراحة في الجون باسم اتكلم على حاجات كتير وأحداث حصلتله ورا الكواليس، ولقاءات مع ناس من السلطة يا إما اتعتم عليها أو هو متلكمش عنها ناس كتير اتكلم عليها معرفتش هما مين غير لما اتفرجت على حلقات قديمة من البرنامج عشان اعرف مين الشخصيات دي " بس الصراحة مسح بكرامتهم الأرض :D" كواليس خناقة CBC وتفاصيل عقده مع ال MBC واللي حصل بعدها والقضية اللى اتحكم عليه فيها الكتاب سيرة ذاتية من منظور شخصي، بس بحكم الشخصية نفسها وإنها كانت لاعب في ريفيو مؤقت لغاية ما افضى اكتب ريفيو . . . . هو الكتاب ده مكنش وقته خاااالص بس الصراحة في الجون باسم اتكلم على حاجات كتير وأحداث حصلتله ورا الكواليس، ولقاءات مع ناس من السلطة يا إما اتعتم عليها أو هو متلكمش عنها ناس كتير اتكلم عليها معرفتش هما مين غير لما اتفرجت على حلقات قديمة من البرنامج عشان اعرف مين الشخصيات دي " بس الصراحة مسح بكرامتهم الأرض :D" كواليس خناقة CBC وتفاصيل عقده مع ال MBC واللي حصل بعدها والقضية اللى اتحكم عليه فيها الكتاب سيرة ذاتية من منظور شخصي، بس بحكم الشخصية نفسها وإنها كانت لاعب في الأحداث في الفترة دي فالكتاب وثق للفترة من يناير 2011 لغاية ساعة كتابته معلومات كتير وأحداث نسيناها او تناسيناها وبغض النظر عن النبرة التشاؤمية وتحامله - من اللى حصله- إلا إن الكتاب يستحق القراءة ويستحق إننا نفتكر إللى حصل فعلا مش غسيل المخ اللى بيتعمل دلوقتي

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Bassem Youssef is a true comic hero seeking truth through satire. Experiencing Egyptian politics through the lens of his television show puts U.S. politics and resistance into perspective at a timely juncture. Yes, we are wimps in comparison! Youssef makes it clear that he is speaking from his own experience and presenting his own interpretation. With that said, I learned far more about the social and cultural nuances presented in his writing than I understood through study and while watching th Bassem Youssef is a true comic hero seeking truth through satire. Experiencing Egyptian politics through the lens of his television show puts U.S. politics and resistance into perspective at a timely juncture. Yes, we are wimps in comparison! Youssef makes it clear that he is speaking from his own experience and presenting his own interpretation. With that said, I learned far more about the social and cultural nuances presented in his writing than I understood through study and while watching the events unfold in the media. As with the Arab Spring, there is no laughable ending.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Very interesting autobiography located in the tumoultos recent history of Egypt. The author is a heart surgeon transformed by the events in a satiric journalist that has hosted the most watch show from the history in the Arab world and now lives in the USA. Why is that?! Because of the persecution from the bad guys in Power. For now, the Army representants. The visit of Trump coincided with me reading this peculiar book and I was impress about the way the egyptians are ruled and what they have to Very interesting autobiography located in the tumoultos recent history of Egypt. The author is a heart surgeon transformed by the events in a satiric journalist that has hosted the most watch show from the history in the Arab world and now lives in the USA. Why is that?! Because of the persecution from the bad guys in Power. For now, the Army representants. The visit of Trump coincided with me reading this peculiar book and I was impress about the way the egyptians are ruled and what they have to endure day by day. I`m not easy to be entertain, but I found myself smiling at some of the comments, but in fact this reads more like an real social drama than a satirical book. Tremendous stuff that puts in some light the relations between power and religion in that corner of the world. Highly recommended!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Let me start out by saying that I love Jon Stewart and the amazing comedians who were influenced by him. Bassem Youssef created what seemed impossible at the time, an Egyptian version of the Daily Show. What amazing courage he showed making fun of dictators, the military and religion as the country descended into anarchy. He now lives in my home town, Oakland, and cannot return to Egypt. He continues to work in media and wonders if satire and protests ever do any good. Even though it is easy to Let me start out by saying that I love Jon Stewart and the amazing comedians who were influenced by him. Bassem Youssef created what seemed impossible at the time, an Egyptian version of the Daily Show. What amazing courage he showed making fun of dictators, the military and religion as the country descended into anarchy. He now lives in my home town, Oakland, and cannot return to Egypt. He continues to work in media and wonders if satire and protests ever do any good. Even though it is easy to get discouraged in the short term, things do improve with time. The United States can't seem to elect a woman president, but Angela Merkel of Germany is now the leader of the free world. If Germany can survive the Nazis and become a model democratic state, then America can survive Trump. Thank you, Dr Youssef, for your work in Egypt and welcome to the Bay Area.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    Jon Stewart introduced Bassem Youssef to US viewers of The Daily Show as "the Jon Stewart of Egypt." It was not a casual comparison. Youssef consciously patterned the Egyptian Al-Bernameg after The Daily Show. Al-Bernameg became the first political satire show in Egypt, the first show in the Middle East to use a live audience, and the most watched show in Egypt. It ran for three years before the military shut it down, issued a warrant for Youssef's arrest, and caused him to flee the country for Jon Stewart introduced Bassem Youssef to US viewers of The Daily Show as "the Jon Stewart of Egypt." It was not a casual comparison. Youssef consciously patterned the Egyptian Al-Bernameg after The Daily Show. Al-Bernameg became the first political satire show in Egypt, the first show in the Middle East to use a live audience, and the most watched show in Egypt. It ran for three years before the military shut it down, issued a warrant for Youssef's arrest, and caused him to flee the country for his safety. Apparently the Egyptian government is a bit thin-skinned and terrified of satire. Bassem Youssef is whip-smart. He is funny. (He's easy on the eyes, too.) I have seen him on The Daily Show and Colbert's Late Night, and I watched a few episodes of his Democracy Handbook show. I was prepared to love this book. It was a little disconcerting to get into it and find myself thinking, "Eh? Maybe this isn't going to be as good as I thought. Is this going to be a three-star book? And why?" Youssef's comedic skill is satire, but his gift is timing. It's a gift that shines in interviews and monologues, but doesn't translate as well in written form. (BTW, I think Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have the same problem: their humor depends on the voice and the timing of the punch line and doesn't translate as well to books.) In the first chapters of Revolution for Dummies, it seemed Youssef was trying too hard to be funny and depending too much on profanity for the punch line. It's a common tactic that nearly always falls flat. The f-bomb is just more effective and funny in spoken comedy than it can ever be in writing. Use profanity more than a couple times in either spoken or written form, and it just becomes a crutch to lean on rather than a stick to poke with. So there's that. But there's also a feeling that Youssef couldn't quite settle into how to approach the reader. The content was still interesting--the man has a way of explaining the chaos of the Middle East that actually starts to make some sense-- but it was awkward. First date awkward. Cocktail party awkward. Fortunately, he hit his stride after a few chapters as he began to explain the social and political climate surrounding the regime changes within Egypt and the Egyptian version of the Arab Spring demonstrations/revolts. (Yeah. Remember the Arab Spring? Ever wonder what happened with that? Read the book.) Youssef outlines the all-too-brief history of his show and the increasing difficulties (read that as "dangers") in speaking out about hypocrisy and corruption in the government. It's true that he sounds a little self-congratulatory at times, but when you realize what this guy was managing to do and under what conditions, he deserves to pat himself on the back! How many of us live with the fear our friends and family will be arrested because we dared to make fun of the president? And this is where the book gets real. When South African native Trevor Noah took over for Jon Stewart at The Daily Show, one of the first observations he made about the American political climate and the posturing of some of its leaders was "Hey, you know, I've seen this before...in African dictatorships and military regimes." Youssef is saying the same thing. "Hey, I'm looking at what's going on in this lovely country and a lot of it is starting to seem much too familiar. I've seen this behavior before!" At one point, Youssef points out that the speeches he heard at a Trump rally, when translated into Arabic, were indistinguishable from content and phrasing of speeches he'd heard made by Mubarek, Morsi, or Sisi regimes. The methods used to create loyalty based on fear and hate are also similar: Create a personality cult; spread conspiracy theories; discredit (and control) the media; seed paranoia; accuse those who don't agree with being unpatriotic or supporting enemies of the state; revise history with "alternative facts." Any of this sound familiar, people? Youssef doesn't create the similarities, he simply points them out. He is, once again, being the court jester who uses satire to describe what is evident rather than what the king wants the court to believe. It's a damned thankless job, really. Now if he could just drag Jon Stewart out of retirement. I'd pay good money to watch Stewart and Youssef do an Al-Bernameg/Daily Show together . Imagine two court jesters, Muslim and Jewish, calling out all the emperors and their sycophants. It would drive politicians everywhere insane. (Speaking of conspiracy theories, have you ever noticed that Sisi is Isis backward? How is it that Sean Hannety has never mentioned this?)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Haroune Benghernaout

    This book didn't fail to make me laugh like a fool , and it was also a good source to know more about the Egyptian revolution ... as a person who lives in a country (Algeria ) that shares a lot of things with Egypt ( language , religion , political system ) , i felt like i'm reading a book about my own country , the use of religion, fake patriotism, and oppression to control the people is the same in both countries . thanks Bassem for not selling out, you are a true satirist .

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jackalacka

    I've seen him on the Daily Show and was intrigued to know more about him. The book does not disappoint. What a f'ed up world we live in.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katy Mulvaney

    Bassem Youssef starts right away playing down the idea that anyone will care what he has to say or that his book will offer much of use -- it's a bold move for an opening salvo, but perhaps he did need to reset expectations. I personally went into the book thinking it might be more along the lines of Blueprints for Revolution, which was much less memoir than practical how-to with multiple real world examples to illustrate the main tactics. Revolutions for Dummies, despite a similar-sounding title Bassem Youssef starts right away playing down the idea that anyone will care what he has to say or that his book will offer much of use -- it's a bold move for an opening salvo, but perhaps he did need to reset expectations. I personally went into the book thinking it might be more along the lines of Blueprints for Revolution, which was much less memoir than practical how-to with multiple real world examples to illustrate the main tactics. Revolutions for Dummies, despite a similar-sounding title, is much more memoir than any kind of practical guide. Youssef glosses over any details of how he negotiated an unique deal of Egyptian TV or even the trials and tribulations of figuring out the new format. He gives only a few scattered examples of his humor and the behind-the-scenes politics of his most pivotal shows. But the stories he does tell are shot through with an unmistakeable passion that any attempt to hide the drive and the importance of his work to him behind "go read that think tank's book" falls short. His protests skillfully create a new bar: his unique and powerful experience tells you about how it feels to defy fascism on both sides of the political spectrum within a few years in your beloved country. In the process, he demonstrates a lot of the gaping wound in not just his society but the psychological scars and bad patterns of thought we have as people. One particular example I can't stop thinking about is how is first Anti-Sissi (carefully anti-military dictator-in-waiting) is initially received by those in his life who disagree with his politics with civility if disagreement...until the first round of talk shows and political spin news shows eviscerate him, and the new cultural norm is not to treat him as a human who disagrees with you and could perhaps be won back over to "the side of sense" but as a public enemy to be pelted with whatever is handy. That's...that says something powerful about us that perhaps we could harness to good effect...but will probably continue to use for evil. His story is moving, his charm is palpable, the fire that drives him slowly becomes undeniable (despite his protests), and the book will certainly make you think...even if it won't prepare you follow in any of the paths he forged.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    I discovered Bassem Youssef, like I suspect many people in the U.S. did, through the Daily Show. He had done one or two little correspondent pieces, but recently he made his appearance to promote this book, and after listening to him talk I realized that this guy was not only funny, like Jon Stewart, he was shrewdly intelligent. After finishing this book, my assessment still remains the same, but that's not entirely why I gave this book the review that I did. Revolution for Dummies wasn't always I discovered Bassem Youssef, like I suspect many people in the U.S. did, through the Daily Show. He had done one or two little correspondent pieces, but recently he made his appearance to promote this book, and after listening to him talk I realized that this guy was not only funny, like Jon Stewart, he was shrewdly intelligent. After finishing this book, my assessment still remains the same, but that's not entirely why I gave this book the review that I did. Revolution for Dummies wasn't always a fun read, there were times where I was pushing through this book. But now matter what I kept reading because I recognized that, as a cultural document this book was vital and essential. The perception of the Middle East as one giant quagmire seems to be the prevalent opinion of many Western countries, and so when a figure like Youssef appears it can at times feel as if the man is something of a miracle, a voice of reason appearing through a mist of chaos. I recognise that this attitude is prejudice, and thus Youssef and his book becomes something important and worth reading. Revolution for Dummies is a powerful narrative about a deeply intelligent, soulful man who wanted to better his home nation by using his talent in comedy, and sometimes with his abilities as a heart surgeon, to help people. Youssef managed through his wit, and careful observation of his culture to become the "Jon Stewart of the Middle East" because he had a keen insight into how his country was being manipulated by malevolent powers that sought only self-advancement at the expense of the people. His ultimate exile then reads like a painful tragedy. This book should be read by any who would simply list the entire region of the Middle East as a hopeless quagmire, because even if Youssef himself would agree with the sentiment, the book offers up hope that maybe, just maybe, satire will wind up being more than just a word periodicals use to characterize political parody. It might actually be something that can enact change.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amjad Al Taleb

    A brief record of a revolution gone bad told the Stewart of the east. Youssef tells his own story as a satirist that caught the attention of millions in the middle east some of whom laughed their asses with him and others wanted to silence him. Although the author is a satirist, the book is not funny. It was not written as a humor book. It is a sad, dark and depressing book in spite of the many jokes it included. Despair! On a completely different subject: I share with Bassem Youssef the love and A brief record of a revolution gone bad told the Stewart of the east. Youssef tells his own story as a satirist that caught the attention of millions in the middle east some of whom laughed their asses with him and others wanted to silence him. Although the author is a satirist, the book is not funny. It was not written as a humor book. It is a sad, dark and depressing book in spite of the many jokes it included. Despair! On a completely different subject: I share with Bassem Youssef the love and admiration to John Stewart, I'd be a groupie of Stewart if that were ever possible. Alas! he has retired and I ain't funny!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nirooj Bista

    Revolution for dummies is a good one. I got to know about the dictatorship and political condition in Egypt even if it was through satire. It certainly takes lot of courage to talk against the deep rooted politics with jokes, and Bassem showed that courage for the better of the people and the Country. I could relate the political conditions Bassem stated with my country too. Though not the dictatorship, we have fare share of the old generations politicians who wants to occupy the power and turn t Revolution for dummies is a good one. I got to know about the dictatorship and political condition in Egypt even if it was through satire. It certainly takes lot of courage to talk against the deep rooted politics with jokes, and Bassem showed that courage for the better of the people and the Country. I could relate the political conditions Bassem stated with my country too. Though not the dictatorship, we have fare share of the old generations politicians who wants to occupy the power and turn the country into darkness. Revolution for Dummies deserves 3.5 stars for the courage Bassem showed in the revolution period.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    A funny and light read. Bassem let's you in on his personal journey, and the story of the revolution, and post revolution, in Egypt from his perspective. It is sad that he is not there to continue his show, nor are there other similar shows in the region now. If you can't tolerate criticism of Islamists, and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, this book is not for you. Or may be it is. The way he gave a quick review of Political Islam and military dictatorships in Egypt was light and funny. Mak A funny and light read. Bassem let's you in on his personal journey, and the story of the revolution, and post revolution, in Egypt from his perspective. It is sad that he is not there to continue his show, nor are there other similar shows in the region now. If you can't tolerate criticism of Islamists, and specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, this book is not for you. Or may be it is. The way he gave a quick review of Political Islam and military dictatorships in Egypt was light and funny. Makes you reflect back on our politics in the Middle East with a mixed feeling of pity and laughter. There is still hope that, soon, other Bassems will stretch their skills, entertain, and provide an outlet for humorous criticism of those in power.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Noha Sallam

    The ever hilarious Dr. Bassem Youssef who did not want to become a doctor in the first place, takes you through the bittersweet moments of the last six messy years. You will sure laugh your lungs out at what he has to say, but at the moment he tells you about his breaking into crying before leaving the theatre for the last time, you will find yourself crying. This is a simple book that does not claim to analyze, tutor or pretend wisdom. It is an account, an honest one I would say for what happen The ever hilarious Dr. Bassem Youssef who did not want to become a doctor in the first place, takes you through the bittersweet moments of the last six messy years. You will sure laugh your lungs out at what he has to say, but at the moment he tells you about his breaking into crying before leaving the theatre for the last time, you will find yourself crying. This is a simple book that does not claim to analyze, tutor or pretend wisdom. It is an account, an honest one I would say for what happened to the author. It is as simple, direct and naughty as Bassem himself. Last note for all the jerks out there who are already starting to circulate BS as parts of the book especially things like Bassem's bragging that he kicked out a regime using jokes....stop it silly gooses because he never bragged about it. You either read what he wrote or shut up and mind your own useless business

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    A great first-hand account of the Arab Spring and how it affected Egypt's Jon Stewart. A great blend of humor, history and narrative accounts of Egypts struggle with dictatorship, theocracy and fascism that led to Bassem Youssef's ouster.

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