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The Mirage of Peace: Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict in the Middle East Hardcover – August 14, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Morning headlines announce renewed violence and fresh calls for peace negotiations, while pundits on talk radio and cable TV shout conflicting opinions at anyone who will listen. Between perplexing contradictions and inflammatory rhetoric, it is often difficult to find out what’s really going on in the Middle East. Former TIME magazine Jerusalem bureau chief David Aikman, who has spent decades reporting on Mid-East issues, takes a sober, balanced look at a region aflame. He brings a journalist’smind and a believer’s heart to his exploration of the political and religious factors in play, and goes beyond the media’s chronic over-simplification to carefully examine recent history and the leaders who have made that history. Aikman turns a critical eye on the policies of the region’s prime players, resorting neither to blind pro-Israeli sentiment nor to reactionary pro-Palestinian bias. He challenges fellow Christians to a similar approach to the Middle East: respect, reason and love, rather than unqualified tolerance on the one hand or religious crusading on the other. Discover the truth behind the headlines: God’s restoring hand is at work in a region of the world torn apart by centuries of strife.

About the Author

Former TIME Magazine Jerusalem bureau chief David Aikman takes on the headline- grabbing subject of the Middle East in The Mirage of Peace: Understanding the Never-ending Conflict in the Middle East. In this comprehensive look at the region, Aikman goes beyond the headlines and sound-bites to examine the complex and deeply rooted sources of the bloodshed and discord that seem to charaterize the Middle East. With a journalist's objectivity and an historian's analysis, Aikman, who is now a college history professor, explains the historical context of the animosities dominating today's news, giving readers an understanding of the personalities, relationships and web of complicated loyalties behind the thorny issues that have defied all attempts to bring a lasting peace to the region.



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regal (August 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830746056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830746057
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm glad to have added the very useful "Mirage of Peace" to my personal library. It's joined two or three other books as my top recommendations towards gaining a good survey-level knowledge of the history and politics of the Middle East.

In the interest of full disclosure, I studied under Dr. Aikman. That does not necessarily lead to a positive student-professor endorsement, but in my case I was able to question and probe the vast depths of David Aikman's personal experience and considerable knowledge. I was consistently impressed by his thoughtful, inquisitive perspective on world events.

"The Mirage of Peace" is arranged as a survey of the nations that comprise the Middle East. Aikman moves nation-by-nation, examining major events and motivators in the history of each state and how these factors affect their relations with neighbors and the surrounding region. While some nations, most notably Egypt, have a past stretching back hundreds or thousands of years, many were pulled together by European powers out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI. Others have a still more recent past, such as the resurrection of an Israeli state after WWII. With that being said, the overall focus of the book is the late 19th century through the late 20th, with some discussion of both the Gulf War and the ongoing Iraq War.

Many of the events Aikman covers on he not only studied but lived through and reported on during his years as a journalist, giving his narrative a better sense of culture and place than many academic pieces I've read on the subject. This book represents an incredible, lucid compendium of information on the countries that comprise the region and the wars and wounds that still motivate them today.
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Format: Hardcover
Mirage of Peace is thorough, balanced and wonderfully written.

It's the best book to give to someone headed to the Middle East as a journalist, diplomat, tourist or business person.

David Aikman -- former Time magazine Israel bureau chief-- is one of the most respected print journalists to cover Israel and the Middle East. In this acclaimed new book, he goes beyond the media's over-simplications and examines recent Middle East events and the prime players.

If you want to understand the Middle East from the perspectives of all the countries in it, this book is for you.

I am not aware of any other book that covers all the countries of the Middle East, and provides such a helpful amount of historical, cultural and religious background.

This is not a book about American diplomacy, though the various Camp David meetings from Carter to Clinton are mentioned. It supports Israel and also allows Palestinian their say.

Aikman takes readers from Israel and the Palestinians; to Syria and Lebaon; Egypt and Jordan, the Persia (really Arabian) Gulf; Iraq; Iran; Saudia Arabia and beyond.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent background and analysis of the factors behind the current countries and conflicts in the what is now called the Middle East. For foundational perspective, Aikman provides a short history of how the land has been seen and how the area has been referred to by the west over the centuries until the recent usage of the name "Middle East."

Aikman is a journalist who brings his knowledge of the region and his perception of people and movements in the various cultures. Here he reconstructs the lines of culture, religion, politics, economics and ethnicity that has led to the individual political entities we know today.

He believes it is necessary to understand the peoples and nations of the Middle East as they understand themselves in order to understand what is going on there, and why things happen as they do. I found his country by country approach very helpful in filling gaps in common knowledge and current perceptions.

The broader events of history are connected to the specific areas we now know as the nation-states in the area. This gives us an insight into how regional and world events are perceived in that particular country. Similarly, readers will appreciate the differences between the various nations of the region.

This historical understanding adds depth and brings insight to the current complexities. It is good to get world events and the broad movements into context as they affected individual peoples and as they led to the particular political entities that have come and gone over the centuries.

Aikman does a particularly admirable job of clearly identifying the decisions, good and bad, of the European colonial powers in the middle East over the last few centuries and especially in the last two centuries that have contributed to the competing views of reality and clamors for power. This is informative and fair.
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent, well-balanced book. Very well researched and written. Dr. Aikman shares his education and experience of the Middle East in a way that is easy to comprehend. I bought this book to assist me with a research paper for college. It was very helpful and informative. I'm very happy that I purchased and read this book.
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