If the new "Complete Idiot's Guide to the Middle East Conflict" has any advantage over in-depth geopolitical reporting in newspapers or analytical academic treatises based on years of research, it is in its humility. The book points out historical misunderstandings in side-bars topped by a picture of a pharaoh wagging a finger and saying "Tut Tut!" It doles out trivia beneath a cartoon of a smiling sphinx. It contains subheadings such as, "Hello Haganah" and "Too Many Jews, Not Enough Space."
American Jews who consider themselves experts on Israeli affairs might walk right past the book and think there couldn't possibly be anything for them in the volume....Then there's the political problem: Mainstream, broad-based texts usually bend so much toward even-handedness that they end up offending partisans on both sides.
What a surprise, then, that this Idiot's Guide is not so idiotic....It takes away the egos of the scholars who usually arm themselves with complicated conclusions so they can sound like they know what they are talking about when nobody, in 2,000 years, has been able to successfully navigate the Middle East to peace. -- Forward, January 7, 2000
My first inclination was to relegate a book with such an off-putting title to the dusty shelf that groans under the weight of other never-to-be-read books. That was before I began flipping through its pages and then, much to my surprise, started reading it more carefully. I laughed. I learned. I marveled at the clever way a complex subject was broken down into manageable, fairly distortion-free paragraph bites, complete with eye-catching headings, amusing asides and fascinating factoids....Amusing line drawings and historic photographs enliven the already lively prose and, for the more studious, there are valuable time lines and an excellent glossary. Moreover, if I had any doubts about the seriousness of Bard's research, I would only have to check the 11-page bibliography of books and Web sites he used to complete his guide....Neophytes and longtime Mideast watchers alike will learn something and enjoy doing it with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict. -- Cleveland Jewish News, January 20, 2000
You're no idiot, of course. You know that the Middle East is always in the news. But the situation there is so complex, you just can't keep track of it all. Was King Hussein related to Saddam Hussein? Why all the fighting over the West Bank? And what does oil, water, and sand have to do with it? Don't let your brain get parched. This useful book sorts through the political and military quagmire of the Middle East in language anyone can understand. -- AOL Jewish Community Newsletter, January 13, 2000
From the Back Cover
You're no idiot, of course. You know that the Middle East is always in the news. But the situation there is so complex and tangled up you just can't keep track of it all. Was King Hussein related to Saddam Hussein? Why all the fighting over the West Bank? And what's oil, water, and sand got to do with it all? Don't let your brain get parched yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Middle East Conflict sorts through the political and military quagmire of the Middle East in language anyone can understand. In this Complete Idiot's Guide, you get:
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