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A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East Paperback – September 1, 2001
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"Extraordinarily ambitious, provocative and vividly written...Fromkin unfolds a gripping tale of diplomatic double-dealing, military incompetence and political upheaval."—Reid Beddow, Washington Post Book World
"Ambitious and splendid...An epic tale of ruin and disillusion...of great men, their large deeds and even larger follies."—Fouad Ajami, The Wall Street Journal
"[It] achieves an ideal of historical writing: its absorbing narrative not only recounts past events but offers a useful way to think about them....The book demands close attention and repays it. Much of the information here was not available until recent decades, and almost every page brings us news about a past that troubles the present."—Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
"One of the first books to take an effective panoramic view of what was happening, not only in Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, and the Arab regions of Asia but also in Afghanistan and central Asia....Readers will come away from A Peace to End All Peace not only enlightened but challenged—challenged in a way that is brought home by the irony of the title."—The New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is well divided into chapters, but requires careful reading to keep up with the people, places, and politics. A quick bio of key players right at the outset would have been quite beneficial.
Only giving it four stars because it really needs some full-page maps, particularly for the campaigns and showing national boundaries in the 1918s. Finding a quality map of the late Ottoman empire and modern middle east is essential if you're going to follow the campaigns, as the map is unfortunately devoid of any maps. GoogleEarth was a great help, and you can also get an idea for the key terrain (Hejaz for example)
Of course, such a conclave was never convened. Despite many attendees’ knowledge of the same history Professor would have recounted, the invasion decision was taken and its predictable (if someone were listening and thinking) consequences dog us and the rest of the world to this day.
We history buffs are especially enamored of Santayana’s observation that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But I guess governments don’t read history books, no less invite an authority on a particular region or period in for a coffee and a chat before a momentous and irreversible decision is made. More’s the pity. The upshot is this: if you believe your knowledge of the Middle East is not quite what it should be and you wonder from time to time why certain events happen and others do not in this perpetually troubled part of the world, just read this book. Then you will know what our Iraq invasion decision makers didn’t...or chose to forget.
from earlier readings I also got a sense of just how amazingly tenuous the communications between British Cairo and Emir Hussein were that a single man, Muhammad al-Faruqi, could perfectly damage and disorient negotiations by meeting with the British and the Arabs and claiming to represent the opposite side. al-Faruqi "...drew and redrew the frontiers of countries and empires, in the course of exchanges among the British Residency, the Emir of Mecca, and Arab nationalist leaders, each of whom took al-Faruqi to be the emissary of one of the other parties" (pg 178).
even that is not even half-way through this book it's in no way shocking to see this book is rated #1 in Middle Eastern history.
also recommended is the documentary Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I which also features the author of this book David Fromkin in it.