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A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-1948 Hardcover – January 9, 2012
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Lively and entertaining. . . . [Barr] has thrown some light on hitherto unexplored corners. — Financial Times
Starred review. Barr’s extensive archival research, evocative historical vignettes, and a superb sense of narrative pacing produce a first-rate work. — Publishers Weekly
Combines the narrative pace of a spy novel with meticulous archival research. — Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History
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Top Customer Reviews
The author tells the story of two "Great Powers" - Britain and France - both of whom acted - in the grand tradition of 19th century colonialism - solely in the interest of perpetuating their own influence in the area. The problem was that, by the time that this story begins - toward the end of the World War 1 - the 19th century was history; there was a new spirit abroad, championed by the American President Woodrow Wilson, which demanded respect for the aspirations of local peoples to self-determination. Great Britain and France thus had to modify their imperialist goals - or at least cloak them - by seeking "mandates" from the newborn League of Nations, which authorised them to exercise so-called protective power over various parts of the now defunct Ottoman empire until such time as these territories were judged to be competent to rule themselves.Read more ›
He starts us at the logical point in late 1915 when Sir Mark Sykes proposed to the British prime minister how they might resolve the conflict with the French about the lands of the Ottoman Empire before it strained a fragile alliance with France. In conjunction with a French diplomat, Georges Picot, a line was determined that would give French control in the north and British control in the south. Keep in mind that France and England are engaged on the European continent in a devasting war against Germany, and yet their long standing mistrust manifests itself in this region.
It appears that every faction, and every player is represented in this book. It is very complex to understand the alliances that were created and the problems they in turn created in the region, but the author does a good job of it. There were times in reading the book that I thought of a pack of dogs fighting, one turning against the other in a violent fury that was devastating for all.
This book also gives the reader a clear understanding of how the Balfour Declaration became a huge problem for the British and the region. Balfour wanted to encourage a home land for the Jews, and Palestine was the chosen area. While, at first blush it appears admirable, the British bungled this and helped to create the tension that still pervades this area today. While Churchill as Colonial Secretary was busy trying to convince the Arabs that the inclusion of the Jews would bring prosperity and happiness to all, the Arabs became more and more hostile as more immigrants arrived.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am still reading this very good history of the Mid East since WW One. It shows how we got to today and also shows the Mid Eastern people never have wanted to work together. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Wreck67
great book with very many details for those who really want to learn about the modern history of the Middle East and how the different countries came into being.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Provides excellent understanding of French and British power struggle for supremacy in middle east which led to arbitrary and non sensical national borders, the beginning of the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Should be mandatory reading for every high school student and everyone working in State Department. Explains the current situation in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Balkins and Turkey....Published 3 months ago by Tom
Great in-depth look behind the scenes of the politics of the time.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I learned from this book most importantly:
1. What two imperialist countries, England and France did behind each other while trying to share the Middle East. Read more
My husband loved it I am next in line to read it when he is done.Published 4 months ago by Deborah D Cooke
Well detailed and written in a very readable style. An excellent introduction to the complexities that we see in this pat of the world now.Published 6 months ago by J. Farrant