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American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945 Not for sale in the British Commonwealth (except Canada), Europe, or the Middle East Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Little provides literary flair, both in his references to fiction and in his own writing style. . . . A solid collection of essays dealing with multiple facets of U.S. relations with the Middle East and offers a bold and simple thesis about American attitudes toward the region."
Journal of Cold War Studies
A superb analysis of the U.S. experience in the Middle East since 1945. (Peter L. Hahn, Ohio State University)
- Item Weight : 1.65 pounds
- Hardcover : 424 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0807827371
- ISBN-13 : 978-0807827376
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : The University of North Carolina Press; Not for sale in the British Commonwealth (except Canada), Europe, or the Middle East edition (November 11, 2002)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,348,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This thing grows as it goes and it is very expensive. It will keep on keeping on until WE are totally maxed out on our National Credit Card.
After that pitiful ending...whose next? Who will be the sugar daddy then?
I love this book even with all it's technical faults. If you can plow through it you will reap a better understanding of this on going problem. Oh and you can then fairly accurately predict your not so good future and that of your grand kids!
Five stars all the way. Good stuff this.
There are more books about this wonderful subject. Find those and read them too!
The book is organized thematically, with chapters devoted to oil, the special relationship with Israel, and America's struggle against Arab nationalism, among other subjects. Within each chapter, Little begins around 1945 and works his way up to the Carter administration. Most of the major issues as far as American interests go are covered, and Little handles the topics in a thorough manner. However, there are some problems with the organization of the book. The first chapter deals with American "orientalism." In this chapter, Little discusses the ways in which Arabs have been historically portrayed in America. The chapter feels completely tacked on and does not fit in well with the rest of the book at all. There is an obsession with the magazine National Geographic that borders on the absurd, as if the ways in which the magazine portrayed Arabs somehow affected U.S. policy. It goes without saying that America at times portrays other cultures in a negative way, but this has nothing to do with the bulk of Little's work. A cynic might suggest that Little included this chapter for the sole reason of naming the book after it, which could possibly result in increased book sales among the Edward Said crowd. This is particularly troubling and perhaps hypocritical when Little refers to Yemen as a "backward" land on page 184.
Another issue that arises is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Little does include a chapter on the subject, but it also does not seem to fit along with the rest of the book. Judgement should not necessarily be passed here since many historians treat the issue separately from U.S. involvement in the region during the period, but Little fails in integrating the topic into the rest of the book in a satisfactory manner. Unless an author is willing to devote the appropriate amount of space to an important topic, it should be left out of the book.
Stylistically, Little's writing is very difficult to navigate. His rampant use of passive voice and colloquial language is quite distracting. On numerous occasions Little refers to the President as "the man in the Oval Office, or the State Department as "Foggy Bottom." This might not bother some, but it comes across as unprofessional and informal. It's hard to imagine the final version of this book making it past an editor's desk because in the end, these flaws detract from the effectiveness of the book in a major way. When passive voice or other indices of poor writing show up almost every other paragraph, the book's 328 pages seem particularly long and burdensome.
Some significant faults aside, Little's book is still worth the read. Even though the scope is decidedly smaller, Salim Yaqub's Containing Arab Nationalism is by far a superior piece of research covering the Eisenhower administration and the struggle against Nasser and should be read along with American Orientalism, perhaps first. Readers will also have to look elsewhere for a more complete take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Anglo-American response to it.