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A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East [Kindle Edition]

David Fromkin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $23.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

Published with a new afterword from the author--the classic, bestselling account of how the modern Middle East was created

The Middle East has long been a region of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and ambitions. All of these conflicts--including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis, and the violent challenges posed by Iraq's competing sects--are rooted in the region's political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed by the Allies after the First World War.

In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies drew lines on an empty map that remade the geography and politics of the Middle East. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all seemed possible, he delivers in this sweeping and magisterial book the definitive account of this defining time, showing how the choices narrowed and the Middle East began along a road that led to the conflicts and confusion that continue to this day.

A new afterword from Fromkin, written for this edition of the book, includes his invaluable, updated assessment of this region of the world today, and on what this history has to teach us.

Editorial Reviews


"Wonderful...No book published in recent years has more lasting relevance to our understanding of the Middle East."—Jack Miles, Los Angeles Book Review

"Extraordinarily ambitious, provocative and vividly written...Fromkin unfolds a gripping tale of diplomatic double-dealing, military incompetence and political upheaval."—Reid Beddow, Washington Post Book World

"Ambitious and splendid...An epic tale of ruin and disillusion...of great men, their large deeds and even larger follies."—Fouad Ajami, The Wall Street Journal

"[It] achieves an ideal of historical writing: its absorbing narrative not only recounts past events but offers a useful way to think about them....The book demands close attention and repays it. Much of the information here was not available until recent decades, and almost every page brings us news about a past that troubles the present."—Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker

"One of the first books to take an effective panoramic view of what was happening, not only in Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, and the Arab regions of Asia but also in Afghanistan and central Asia....Readers will come away from A Peace to End All Peace not only enlightened but challenged—challenged in a way that is brought home by the irony of the title."—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

David Fromkin is a professor at Boston University and the author of several acclaimed books of nonfiction, including The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2514 KB
  • Print Length: 692 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 20th Anniversary Edition edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003X27L7C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 113 people found the following review helpful
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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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great overview, but uneven in scope and detail 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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110 of 131 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition vs. paperback: functionality issues 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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not taught in school or at least not ...
This is not taught in school or at least not when I was in school. It provides the knowledge to know why things in Asia are as hostile as they are today. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Pat Glennon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
like to read.
Published 14 days ago by Y. Hitchcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History Lesson hope we learn
This book brings the Middle East into perspective, before WW-1 and the aftermath of WW-1. How ignorant Europe was regarding Turkey. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read if you are to understand anything that is happening in the Middle East today.
Published 22 days ago by Barbara Rush
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item as described. Thank you!
Published 23 days ago by Keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily useful.
Fromkin's book deserves every accolade and award it has reviewed. It is a must read for anyone seeking to understand what is happening now.
Published 1 month ago by Martin P Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a joy to read
This book was a joy to read. Well researched and written, it gives the reader an excellent insight into how the modern Middle East was formed and sheds plenty of light on how, and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fromkin’s book about British involvement in World War I presents ...
Fromkin’s book about British involvement in World War I presents detailed information about the political machine of British Imperial power and how it affected the outcome of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Holly
3.0 out of 5 stars gets short shrift but the book provides good insight to a beginning...
An interesting read on the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Mustapha Kemal, the father of modern Turkey, gets short shrift but the book provides good insight to a beginning... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Roger C Barnes DC
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Analysis of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the...
Fromkin provides a thorough analysis of the collapse and Ottoman rule and the European reworking of those middle eastern territories into patchwork states wherein cultural, ethnic,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jose Gomez-Rivera
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