"A vitally important book because it warns against easy explanations of U.S. foreign policy." - Diplomatic History "It is one of the achievements of McAlister's subtle and complex book that her analysis allows one to situate public perceptions...and the responses of the U.S. Government within a coherent and persuasive framework. [An] excellent book." - Times Literary Supplement"
From the Inside Flap
"A wonderfully original and compelling study, essential for understanding the complex relations between the US and the nations and peoples of the Mideast. McAlister argues powerfully that American interests in the Mideast range far beyond the realm of foreign policy to become of paramount importance to the creation of American culture in the post World War II era. . . . A model for those interested in the interconnections of culture and foreign policy in an era of globalization. An engrossing read."Amy Kaplan, author of The Social Construction of American Realism
"Melani McAlister has written a marvelous book that draws together a vast array of materials from the media, archives, scholarly sources, and popular culture, interpreting it through her rich knowledge of cultural studies. Scholars in many fields--American studies, sociology, religious studies, political science, media studies, among others--will want to read this lively and engaging book."Robert Wuthnow, author of After Heaven: Spirituality in America Since the 1950s, and Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist
"A fascinating and completely original analysis of the relation between culture and foreign policy. . . this book casts entirely new light on US military, financial, and emotional investments in the Middle East. Conservative Christian sensibilities, television, Biblical epics, Black Power, and a host of gender-related representations--these and other factors all played a part in the shaping of American foreign policy in ways that have never before been noticed. No historian of twentieth-century American culture or politics should miss this brilliant book!"Gail Bederman, author of Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the US, 1880-1917
"Diplomatic historians are now turning to Edward Said’s Orientalism to explore the cultural dimensions of 20th Century America’s representations of the Middle East. They are too late! Melani McAlister develops a "post-orientalist" approach to U.S. culture, foreign policy, and identity. Hers is also the first book ever to recognize that African -Americans matter to such a project. Epic Encounters is a blockbuster of a book."Robert Vitalis, author of When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt