The best books about Rojava (Kurdish region of Syria)

Janet Biehl Author Of Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin
By Janet Biehl

The Books I Picked & Why

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East

By David L. Phillips

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East

Why this book?

After World War I, the great powers who carved up the Middle East should have by all rights given the huge population of Kurds there a state of their own. But the new Turkish republic made sure they didn’t, and as a result of this historic betrayal, Kurdish people have lived as a minority in several Middle Eastern countries, whose dictatorial governments persecuted them brutally and often still do. Phillips, a longtime champion of Kurdish human rights, surveys their condition and traces their current evolution into a vibrant political community, arguing for international recognition of their right to self-determination.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria's Kurds

By Thomas Schmidinger

Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria's Kurds

Why this book?

Schmidinger, a Viennese political scientist and specialist in Kurdish studies, focuses on the Kurds’ particular oppression in Syria, where they are the largest ethnic minority. He explains the historical events that led to the Rojava Revolution of 2012 and the new institutions created there, up to the book’s publication in 2017. It is highly readable, sympathetic, and grounded in deep knowledge.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Kurds of Northern Syria: Governance, Diversity and Conflicts

By Harriet Allsopp, Wladimir van Wilgenburg

The Kurds of Northern Syria: Governance, Diversity and Conflicts

Why this book?

This analysis traces the momentous social and political transformation of northeastern Syria brought about by the Rojava Revolution. It is grounded in a thorough knowledge of the literature on Kurdish politics and the Syrian war. At the same time one of the co-authors, a journalist based in Erbil, had unprecedented access to officials in the self-administration as well as civilians on the ground. The first-hand research and interviews are a pillar of the book, which explores the prospects for Kurdish autonomy with realism and nuance.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

Why this book?

This book reconstructs the experiences of several members of the YPJ, Rojava’s women’s militia, about their experiences fighting to liberate Kobane, Hasakah, Manbij, and Raqqa from occupation by ISIS. Based on extensive first-hand interviews, Lemmon focuses on a few representative women who stand-in for the force, bringing their struggle alive with exceptional insight and clarity.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan

By Michael Knapp, Anja Flach, Ercan Ayboga

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan

Why this book?

Originally written in German and published in 2014, this first full-length study of the revolution is based on extensive research there, including interviews with participants in the revolution. It remains a basic text for any study of the revolution.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists