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Customer Review

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Crucial read for understanding America's role in the Mideast, May 14, 2008
This review is from: The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Hardcover)
There is no end of reasons for anyone interested in Israel and Palestine to read this book. Miller worked for the State Department for a quarter century, under six different Secretaries of State and five presidents. The two Camp David summits essentially bookend his career.

The book is a veritable fountain of insight into American Middle East diplomacy. Miller never loses sight of both the political complications of attempts to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors, nor of the human elements that are such a vital part of diplomacy.

Unusual for a book of its kind, The Much Too Promised Land is exceptionally well-written and fully engages the reader throughout. It's that rarest of creations, a book of politics and history that's also a real page-turner.

Miller gives us priceless material on a quarter-century of American engagement in the Middle East; is unsparing in his criticism, including of himself; but is also quite clear in his praise. One gets a really good picture of what worked and what didn't and why. We also get a picture of the circumstances, which is crucial to understanding why a given course of action might work in 1978 but not in 2007, or might fail at one time but succeed at another.

Perhaps the most important point Miller brings out in his book, though this is not his focus, is the role of the "Israel Lobby" in American policy-making. Miller makes clear what I, among others, have been saying for years-that the "Lobby" is certainly powerful and effective and has an impact, but decisions are not based on what it wants. Miller illustrates well the importance of citizens organizing lobbying forces promoting reasonable policies but also makes clear where the power of lobbying ends and the leadership of a president begins. Click here and here for more of my own work on this issue. We'll get back to the issue of lobbying below.

Miller's book is simply indispensible for anyone wanting to truly understand America's policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict from Carter to George W.
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Initial post: Jan 9, 2013 4:00:29 PM PST
Steve says:
Because of the Senator Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense and Miller's (widely quoted) interview with Chuck Hagel, I decided to return to this book a second time. As I am reading the introduction, again I see Miller makes an unfortunate error. Maybe that is why his book is so terribly flawed from the onset. He wrote: " I figured historic Palestine was promised four times at least, to its inhabitants.: first by a Jewish, Christian and Muslim God who offered an exclusive, even triumphal claim to the same land and its holy sites to those souls who were willing to follow..." There is absolutely no basis for this claim either in the Christian Bible or in the Qur'an.
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