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What Every American Should Know About the Middle East Paperback – December 30, 2008

2.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Part primer with historical overviews and bios on key players and part tabloid-style digest, Rossi's series entry nonetheless manages to remain entirely informative throughout. Setting itself apart by addressing preconceived notions, the book is divided into chapters on specific countries in the Middle East, emphasizing their uniqueness in matters of energy, military, religion/ethnicity, money, politics, unity, and theocracy. Statistics are provided on the war, including civilian and militia deaths, refugees, and moneys spent on Iraq and unaccounted for. Rossi's previous titles in her WEASK series (whateveryamericanshouldknow.com) hint at the tone of this book, e.g., What Every American Should Know About Who's Really Running the World: The People, Corporations, and Organizations That Control Our Future. Her boldly outspoken style might not appeal equally to everyone; one chapter is titled "European Designs: Hacking up the Middle East." However, her cheat sheets help clarify, her vocabulary is defined, and there are extensive footnotes. Overall, this is recommended for public and undergraduate libraries.—Krista Bush, Univ. of New Haven Lib., West Haven, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for the What Every American Should Knowa] Series
aA funky foreign affairs seminar.a
a"Newsday"
aFun and informativea] absorbing on many levels.a
a"The Chicago Tribune"
a[An] engaging travel guide complete with the basicsa demographics, history, hot spots, and notable natives.a
a"Publishers Weekly"

aIf there is a livelier, less ponderous, more agenda-free, better researched, more relevant publication that provides such a wealth of historic and incidental information alongside all the aneed to knowa stuff on this complex part of the world, I would like to find it.a
aPat Lancaster, editor of "Middle East Magazine"

?If there is a livelier, less ponderous, more agenda-free, better researched, more relevant publication that provides such a wealth of historic and incidental information alongside all the ?need to know? stuff on this complex part of the world, I would like to find it.?
?Pat Lancaster, editor of "Middle East Magazine"

"If there is a livelier, less ponderous, more agenda-free, better researched, more relevant publication that provides such a wealth of historic and incidental information alongside all the 'need to know' stuff on this complex part of the world, I would like to find it."
-Pat Lancaster, editor of "Middle East Magazine"

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Product Details

  • Series: What Every American Should Know about
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452289599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452289598
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've struggled to find a basically non-biased book on Middle East history that is written in a casual style. Reading this book is like having a conversation with a friend. Overall, I found this book is a big help in understanding our current day politics. This book should not be your only source of information, but it is a nice place to start.
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Format: Paperback
Rossi's exposition into the Middle East is hardly expository in nature- while her discussions are thorough and she does a remarkable job of covering both a crash course in the politics of every Middle Eastern state (Oman and Jordan were particularly fun reads, and I learned a lot about 'hypothetical development projects' in Dubai that recently made major headlines) and a thematic overview of major tensions in the region. Sadly, a lot of her analysis comes down to the same basic points:
1) America is dominated by a neo-conservative conspiracy that is both blood and jew thirsty- rightly so, Rossi blames a lot of the region's problems on a Western foreign policy hellbent on pursuing stable access to energy resources and/or fulfilling a Zionist Christian belief that populating the Middle East with Jewish citizens will lead to the second coming of the messiah. The point is well articulated early in the text, but gets redundant as she KEEPS REFERRING TO IT IN ALMOST EVERY CHAPTER, and in some cases, reexplains the foundations of her argument in the same terms.
2) Religious divides are problematic, though no one really knows why- Rossi does an excellent job deciphering the various sects of Islam (I learned what makes a Sunni different than a Shia, for example, and it has a lot to do with the line of ascensions for Muslim prophets in the 600s). What she doesn't explain is how these religious tensions manifest into new conflicts and why anyone continues to care about these tensions today. Rossi also blames a lot of problems in the region on the 1979 Iranian revolution, but needs to do a better job specifically linking the revolution's unique manifestations in each country.
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Format: Paperback
Although very frank about her position, she has unique insights that serve citizens looking for a good review of a difficult area of the world. It is well-footnoted and up to date for 2008. Our one sided support of Israel is viewed with the same openness as with the description of the fear of militant Islam. This part of the world is seen as multi-leveled and complex. It is a great read and very comprehensive in its survey of the middle east. Good maps of the area and photos of leaders.
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Format: Kindle Edition
i went from the "clueless american" to what i feel is a solid understanding of why things are and i feel able to put together informed opinions on what needs to be done. i also went from completely avoiding news about the region to having an al-jazeera app. on my phone and am hoping for a middle eastern vacation. i understand why some feel a bias in rossi but will look for more books on certain important subjects for other points of view. in my opinion a great book that will inspire.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Smart. Brisk. Fair-minded. Based on actually having been there, rather than second-hand accounts.
Most impressive: evidencing a fair amount of courage, in that Ms Rossi says things/truths that typically get stifled/censored. I like literary courage.
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Format: Paperback
Certainly engaging.

However, most facts go unsupported and many I know for myself are not entirely accurate. The author essentially just word vomits for nearly 500 pages with a prevalent leftist undertone: America is wrong, Israel is bad, the Middle East is just fine the way it is, blah blah blah... I know this was published in 2008 but my god, she describes the region as it was back in the 70s.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the fourth "What Every American Should Know About..." book I've read and just as fascinating as the others. Published in 2008, this book is filled with facts, history, and the current state of affairs of the countries which comprise the Middle East. Although it's not the sexiest title in the world, it's a book that I read like a page-turning thriller. I kept putting down the fiction titles I've been reading and reading this instead. Before this book, I only had vague notions of what what was going on in this part of the world, and little idea of how it got that way. But after reading this, I've got a much better understanding of the area, it's diverse people, and how they got there. One thing that stands out is how you just can't paint these Middle Eastern countries as simply good and bad, black or white. They all have their good and bad points. And the USA is included in that assessment since the USA has had a big hand in shaping Middle Eastern affairs and it's not always been a helping hand. Nobody comes away cleanly from this book. Not the USA, the British, the French, or the many characters in the Middle East. It's a messy world and this book helped me put it in context. This is just fascinating stuff.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this rating, because I think the information supplied is excellent, well brought to light, the pictures as well, the style of writing is intriguing, but the quality of the print and I would like to see bigger size fonts.

I like all the research, accurate I can use some of it when I speak about the Middle East. I think that it is a very good book.

Orit Murad Rehany Author of
A River of Tears The River of Hope
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