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Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 16, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Those previous 150 years of history are well worth knowing. And they inform today, to include the fact that the current evangelical Christian romance with Israel dates not from the last 20 years or so, but has been a waxing and waning phenomenon for 150 years depending on the strength of religious revivalism in America. That insight alone, which takes up a considerable part of the book, makes it well worth reading.
The last fifth of the book is disappointing, but Mr. Oren is an honest man and in his preface practically tells you that it will be and that he really did not want to write it: it is the history of the Middle East from about 1950 on. He doesn't feel he has adequate (declassified government document) sources. It has a sort of breathless, once-over- lightly perfunctory approach suggesting he just wanted to get through it as quickly as possible. It also unhappily gives vent to two failures of objectivity on his part as an Israeli author who otherwise plays the history of Israeli/Arab conflicts remarkably straight: 1) his unqualified claim that the Israeli air attack on the U.S.Read more ›
Michael Oren's excellent "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present" is such a book. Instead of covering familiar subjects, Mr. Oren offers an insightful study of an area few consider, America's relationship to the Middle East in the 19th Century. Many will surely wonder at how any author can squeeze more than 600 pages - not including footnotes and bibliography -- over a topic that you might suspect could be covered in scant pages. Such is the wonderful surprise that Oren offers. In gripping prose that will be familiar with those who have already read his definitive history of the Six Day War, Oren traces America's involvement in the Middle East and North Africa all the way back to the Revolutionary War period.
Philosophically and temperamentally committed to avoiding "old world entanglements" Thomas Jefferson, first as Washington's Secretary of State and then as President, confronts the question of what to do about American shipping seized by the petty north African Berber and Arab kingdoms. The Middle East a lucrative market, European states pay tribute to these states in exchange for "protection" a notion offensive to many early American statesman. Thus, having first resisted the creation of a standing navy, Jefferson reverses course in order to protect American shipping interests. Thus begins US involvement in the region.
The study of this period provides much data of interest.Read more ›
At any event, I found this book endlessly fascinating. Oren knows how to tell a good story, and there are plenty of good stories packed in here. I was fascinated by the account of how American oil companies first got a foothold in the Middle East, at a time when the U.S. State Department was, according to Oren, pretty much oblivious to the potential significance of such engagement. And Oren's accounts of the travails of American Protestant missionaries working in the 19th century Middle Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire are entertaining and instructive.
To me, the last chapter of the book, recounting the history from after the foundation of the state of Israel to the present, is a big let-down.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best if you know very little about the Mid-East. First half of the book is about missionaries and related folk who brought US influence to the region.Published 6 hours ago by Art O'Conicle
This is probably the most useful and comprehensive survey available of U.S. interactions with the Middle East. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Fats Yamaguchi
This historical overview of American relations with the 'Middle East' (let's not even discuss this inappropriate term) should be interesting, but it isn't, it disappoints. Read morePublished 15 days ago by H. Schneider
Endnotes in Kindle version are NOT linked to the actual Endnotes, rather when you tap on footnote 1, you get Wikipedia search results for the number "1".Published 2 months ago by Toms Sweeney
Iam still in the middle but this book is enlightening for anyone unaware of the early depradations the Muslims inflicted on the US. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Yuval Brandstetter