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A Peace to End All Peace, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East   [PEACE TO END ALL PEACE 20TH AN] [Paperback] Unknown Binding – July 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Holt McDougal+; 20 edition (July 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008M3M0QY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Do not read the review--read the book.
Stephen C. Smith
This is a complex book and no kind of "quick" read, but read it and you will have a great understanding of the situation in the Middle East today.
Arthur Robinson
Well written and easy to read, BUT lengthy and very detailed.
Arthur K. Yellin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on April 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely first-rate history book: it covers the complexity without simplification, yet tells a riveting story with a huge cast of larger than life characters (Churchill, Ataturk, Lenin, Lawrence of Arabia, and many others). It is also superlatively written.

The book begins with the machinations leading up to the Great War. The Ottoman Empire - in decline for over 300 years, yet a useful "buffer" for the Western powers against the Russian Empire in the "Great Game" - is finally coming apart with the rise of the western-minded "young Turks." That means that it is finally collapsing and Britain and France must decide whether to continue to prop up its vast territorial holdings or to nakedly seek to carve up its territories for the benefit of their own empires. France coveted Syria and Lebanon, GB the rest. In the end, it is what they got.

Once the Great War began, however, the Turks allied themselves with the Germans, for which CHurchill was unjustly blamed (he confiscated two destroyers that Britain's shipyards had just manufactured for the Turks). This led directly to the catastrophically mismanaged invasion of the Dardanelles, in a bid to end the War by pushing a wedge into the Germanic coalition from the South, again Churchill's idea. (Amazingly, the collapse of Bulgaria was what finally ended WWI 4 years later, as the allies entered the gap). As the Turks rallied, the allies turned to making alliances with the Arabs and others under loose Turkish suzerainty.

The greatest accomplishment of the book is to dissect the mentality of British policymakers, which by today's standards was almost ghoulishly primitive.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Juan-Pablo Caceres on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fromkin delivers what he promises; how after the fall of the Ottoman Empire during the Great War, the modern Middle East was basically drawn in the map. He explains how the Englishmen were ignorant in Middle Eastern affairs and how the religious fervor in both continents shaped many of the events recounted in the book. The story has a very clear arch. The formation of the Middle East is a counterpoint to the destruction of the Old European Order after the First World War.

Where the book fails is in its internal dynamic. For some people this book lacks details, for others it has too much. I was annoyed by both, some parts of the book don't have detail at all, others are overwhelming. This makes the reading a bit uneven from chapter to chapter, with a consequential loss of insight. Fromkin claims that Chruchill is the central and structural character that shapes the book. I found that to be a failed enterprise.

On the other hand, the book is a very interesting reading, it demystifies a lot, and the insights at the beginning, and specially at the end are really worthwhile. The thesis is that, if Europe needed 1000 years to shape itself after the fall of the Roman Empire, how many year does the Middle East need?
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108 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Nelson on September 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I am reading the Kindle version of "A Peace to End All Peace" but also own the paperback edition of this excellent book. The Kindle version is less functional than the print edition for people who frequently consult the bibliography and index when reading non-fiction.

The Kindle edition's bibliography lacks the paperback's hanging indent format. All lines are left-justified, making the page look like a solid, undifferentiated mass of words. It is hard to see where each entry begins and to look up particular authors.

In addition, one cannot use the Kindle edition's index to navigate to relevant passages in the main text. Because the original page numbers do "not match the pages in your eBook", the index shows only "the terms that appear in the print index". I have had uneven success with the suggested alternative of using "the search function on your eReading device". Further, the lack of formatting that hobbles the Kindle edition's bibliography also reduces the readability and usefulness of its index (i.e., list of terms) as a search aid. No hanging indents or other formatting techniques visually set off multi-line entries from entries that precede or follow them.

As someone new to the Kindle, I don't know how common these formatting and functionality problems are for non-fiction eBooks generally, or how difficult it would be to resolve them. I do know, however, that bibliographies and indexes are an integral part of the reading experience. If eBooks are to become a competitive reading option for non-fiction, especially scholarly works, their bibliographies and indexes need to be as functional as their hard-copy counterparts' are.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By R. Marten on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fromkin has created a brilliant history of the Middle East following WW1. With almost 600 pages, it is not a quick read, and with so many different countries, personalities, prejudices, and perfidies involved, it does get confusing at times and takes a lot of concentration to keep the various players separate (especially when they keep changing sides and opinions). With Britain, France, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, India, Bulgaria and others, plus multiple sects of Arabs and Jews, all trying to protect their own interests, no wonder the Middle East was put in chaos then. It still is in chaos, and Fromkin thinks that it may take 1500 years to quiet region, as it took Europe after Rome fell. But, he knows very well that this region is comparable to none because of religious history. Until radical Islam changes, it's only going to get more bloody.

The author covers how boundaries of current Middle East were determined, Britain's struggles to keep their empire although the country was broke after WW1, Arabs determination to break free of British rule, Russian role in eliminating British influence in the area, French-British conflicts, and so much chaos created by so many different Moslem groups wanting independence.

This book makes sense of how the region got to be the tinderbox that it is currently. Although a quest for oil played a small part, colonialism, religion, and inter-sect conflicts and political power has caused most of the problems.
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