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A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East Paperback – September 1, 2001

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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

Historian David Fromkin is a professor at Boston University and the author of several acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 2 Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805068848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805068849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

199 of 208 people found the following review helpful By bibliomane01 on August 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my all-time favourite historical works, and I've read a lot of them. David Fromkin tells the story of how the colonial re-adjustments made by England and France during World War I in anticipation of the demise of the Ottoman Empire were ultimately responsible for the continuing mess that is the modern Middle East. It is a story that has been told many times, but seldom with such eloquence and rarely with such a sure eye for the telling detail. Mr. Fromkin has the gift of explication and the ability to really see the big picture. From the fateful voyage of the German warships Goeben and Breslau to the violent death of Enver Pasha in the wilds of Central Asia, and from the fictions of TE Lawrence to the cynical accomodations of Sykes and Picot, the reader is conducted expertly through an incredible but factual story whose ending has yet to be determined. As he shows in other books such as "In the Time of the Americans," Fromkin is a stern critic of the old colonial powers, and some readers may find his account of French and British politics and policies to be a little one-sided, but what really good book isn't? An amazing work of history - six stars!
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Chris Peters on February 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Of course I know the importance of the Middle East in our present times, but I had little idea that the era of its formation was also a critical time for the formation of the ENTIRE modern world. The same events which created the Modern Middle East also caused both World Wars, and hints at the eternal conflict in Bosnia and Yugoslavia as well. And yet, the world of 1914 is so utterly different from our modern times. The start of this book finds the Ottaman Empire "ruling" over Central Asia, Britian in control of 1/3rd of the globe, and European countries still on an Imperial drive to conquer the world as fast as they can. The US was hardly a superpower during these times, and Civil and Womens' Rights are just a glimmer in History's Eye.

The premere draw for this book is the author's use of de-classified materials, which can finally tell us what really happened in the region, and how European powers formed it. Beware, though, as this book is VERY dense with detail; so dense that I often take an hour to read a 5-6 page chapter. It has some flavors of a novel, but the book is certainly not an "easy read." If you soak in all the knowledge, names, locations, and dates of this volume, you will become a relative expert on the Middle East!
And yet, don't expect a complete understanding of the Modern Arab nations and the Islamic groups which reside in them. The Middle Eastern nations of the book's time period, 1914-1922, are about as different from their current condition and conflicts as the Civil War United States is from our modern country.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By "cra-zee" on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating journey into roots of the current problems in the middle east. "A Peace to End All Peace" reads like a fiction novel and is very concise. Fromkin helps to explain in detail the great maneuvering and the politics that resulted in the downfall of the last great Islamic empire, and the breaking up of its territories, the effects of which can be seen to this day: The israeli-palestinian conflict, and the rise of the now corrupt house of saud which led to 9/11 to name a few. Get this book if you wish to get a better understanding of why people are blowing themselves up in the middle east, and also some of the intrigues and conflicts in one of the greatest wars in the history of this planet.
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195 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen VINE VOICE on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is of critical importance to any student of Middle East history. Fromkin recounts a great deal that he might have left out of a less complete survey. Its inclusion is but one thing that makes this work priceless.

What emerges, before one is even halfway through, is a sweeping portrait of the many tragedies that seeded conflicts still plaguing the Middle East today.

One major culprit can only be described as legendary British stumbling throughout World War I. At the core of Britain's Middle Eastern advisers was a group of bigoted, bumbling idiots, who could not see past the end of their noses. Sir Mark Sykes, for example, described many groups whose destiny he influenced with disgusting pejorative. Town Arabs, he described as "cowardly," "insolent yet dispicable [sic]" and "vicious as far as their feeble bodies will admit." Bedouin Arabs he called "rapacious, greedy...animals."

Sykes was also obsessed with fear of Jews, Fromkin writes, "whose web of dangerous international intrigue he discerned in many an obscure corner." Not the least of these was the sadly mistaken view that the Young Turks party were governed by Jews, when in fact none were privy to their inner circle. This pathetic distortion of reality was informed by oriental affairs interpreter Gerald FitzMaurice, and shared by Gilbert Clayton, an adviser to Lord Kitchener. Like too many other British misconceptions about the Middle East, it was never investigated or much less corrected.

Disasters resulting from the "Cairo group's" ill-informed advice abounded. Take the bungled attack on Gallipoli--caused horrific 500,000 combined casualties, which could have been sharply reduced, if not eliminated, had the allies acted swiftly.
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