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A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East 2 Reprint Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 398 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0805088090
ISBN-10: 0805088091
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Wonderful...No book published in recent years has more lasting relevance to our understanding of the Middle East.” ―Jack Miles, Los Angeles Book Review

“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

About the Author

David Fromkin is a professor at Boston University and the author of several acclaimed books of nonfiction, including The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners. He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 2 Reprint edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805088091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805088090
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (398 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my all-time favourite historical works, and I've read a lot of them. David Fromkin tells the story of how the colonial re-adjustments made by England and France during World War I in anticipation of the demise of the Ottoman Empire were ultimately responsible for the continuing mess that is the modern Middle East. It is a story that has been told many times, but seldom with such eloquence and rarely with such a sure eye for the telling detail. Mr. Fromkin has the gift of explication and the ability to really see the big picture. From the fateful voyage of the German warships Goeben and Breslau to the violent death of Enver Pasha in the wilds of Central Asia, and from the fictions of TE Lawrence to the cynical accomodations of Sykes and Picot, the reader is conducted expertly through an incredible but factual story whose ending has yet to be determined. As he shows in other books such as "In the Time of the Americans," Fromkin is a stern critic of the old colonial powers, and some readers may find his account of French and British politics and policies to be a little one-sided, but what really good book isn't? An amazing work of history - six stars!
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Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely first-rate history book: it covers the complexity without simplification, yet tells a riveting story with a huge cast of larger than life characters (Churchill, Ataturk, Lenin, Lawrence of Arabia, and many others). It is also superlatively written.

The book begins with the machinations leading up to the Great War. The Ottoman Empire - in decline for over 300 years, yet a useful "buffer" for the Western powers against the Russian Empire in the "Great Game" - is finally coming apart with the rise of the western-minded "young Turks." That means that it is finally collapsing and Britain and France must decide whether to continue to prop up its vast territorial holdings or to nakedly seek to carve up its territories for the benefit of their own empires. France coveted Syria and Lebanon, GB the rest. In the end, it is what they got.

Once the Great War began, however, the Turks allied themselves with the Germans, for which CHurchill was unjustly blamed (he confiscated two destroyers that Britain's shipyards had just manufactured for the Turks). This led directly to the catastrophically mismanaged invasion of the Dardanelles, in a bid to end the War by pushing a wedge into the Germanic coalition from the South, again Churchill's idea. (Amazingly, the collapse of Bulgaria was what finally ended WWI 4 years later, as the allies entered the gap). As the Turks rallied, the allies turned to making alliances with the Arabs and others under loose Turkish suzerainty.

The greatest accomplishment of the book is to dissect the mentality of British policymakers, which by today's standards was almost ghoulishly primitive.
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Format: Paperback
Of course I know the importance of the Middle East in our present times, but I had little idea that the era of its formation was also a critical time for the formation of the ENTIRE modern world. The same events which created the Modern Middle East also caused both World Wars, and hints at the eternal conflict in Bosnia and Yugoslavia as well. And yet, the world of 1914 is so utterly different from our modern times. The start of this book finds the Ottaman Empire "ruling" over Central Asia, Britian in control of 1/3rd of the globe, and European countries still on an Imperial drive to conquer the world as fast as they can. The US was hardly a superpower during these times, and Civil and Womens' Rights are just a glimmer in History's Eye.

The premere draw for this book is the author's use of de-classified materials, which can finally tell us what really happened in the region, and how European powers formed it. Beware, though, as this book is VERY dense with detail; so dense that I often take an hour to read a 5-6 page chapter. It has some flavors of a novel, but the book is certainly not an "easy read." If you soak in all the knowledge, names, locations, and dates of this volume, you will become a relative expert on the Middle East!
And yet, don't expect a complete understanding of the Modern Arab nations and the Islamic groups which reside in them. The Middle Eastern nations of the book's time period, 1914-1922, are about as different from their current condition and conflicts as the Civil War United States is from our modern country.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating journey into roots of the current problems in the middle east. "A Peace to End All Peace" reads like a fiction novel and is very concise. Fromkin helps to explain in detail the great maneuvering and the politics that resulted in the downfall of the last great Islamic empire, and the breaking up of its territories, the effects of which can be seen to this day: The israeli-palestinian conflict, and the rise of the now corrupt house of saud which led to 9/11 to name a few. Get this book if you wish to get a better understanding of why people are blowing themselves up in the middle east, and also some of the intrigues and conflicts in one of the greatest wars in the history of this planet.
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