The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern TimesChristopher de Bellaigue
Chart of the most popular and best selling Middle East history ebooks at the Apple iBookstore.
Chart list of the top Middle Eastern history ebook ebook best sellers was last updated: Tuesday, June 27 2017, 3:22 pm
The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern TimesChristopher de Bellaigue
A revelatory and game-changing narrative that rewrites everything we thought we knew about the modern history of the Islamic world. With majestic prose, Christopher de Bellaigue presents an absorbing account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Flying in the face of everything we thought we knew, The Islamic Enlightenment becomes an astonishing and revelatory history that offers a game-changing assessment of the Middle East since the Napoleonic Wars. Beginning his account in 1798, de Bellaigue demonstrates how Middle Eastern heartlands have long welcomed modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from seclusion, and the development of democracy. With trenchant political and historical insight, de Bellaigue further shows how the violence of an infinitesimally small minority is in fact the tragic blowback from these modernizing processes. Structuring his groundbreaking history around Istanbul, Cairo, and Tehran, the three main loci of Islamic culture, de Bellaigue directly challenges ossified perceptions of a supposedly benighted Muslim world through the forgotten, and inspiring, stories of philosophers, anti-clerics, journalists, and feminists who opened up their societies to political and intellectual emancipation. His sweeping and vivid account includes remarkable men and women from across the Muslim world, including Ibrahim Sinasi, who brought newspapers to Istanbul; Mirza Saleh Shirzi, whose Persian memoirs describe how the Turkish harems were finally shuttered; and Qurrat al-Ayn, an Iranian noble woman, who defied her husband to become a charismatic prophet. What makes The Islamic Enlightenment particularly germane is that non-Muslim pundits in the post-9/11 era have repeatedly called for Islam to subject itself to the transformations that the West has already achieved since the Enlightenment—the absurd implication being that if Muslims do not stop reading or following the tenets of the Qur’an and other holy books, they will never emerge from a benighted state of backwardness. The Islamic Enlightenment, with its revolutionary argument, completely refutes this view and, in the process, reveals the folly of Westerners demanding modernity from those whose lives are already drenched in it.
Fractured LandsScott Anderson
From the bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia , a piercing account of how the contemporary Arab world came to be riven by catastrophe since the 2003 United States invasion of Iraq. In 2011, a series of anti-government uprisings shook the Middle East and North Africa in what would become known as the Arab Spring. Few could predict that these convulsions, initially hailed in the West as a triumph of democracy, would give way to brutal civil war, the terrors of the Islamic State, and a global refugee crisis. But, as New York Times bestselling author Scott Anderson shows, the seeds of catastrophe had been sown long before. In this gripping account, Anderson examines the myriad complex causes of the region’s profound unraveling, tracing the ideological conflicts of the present to their origins in the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 and beyond. From this investigation emerges a rare view into a land in upheaval through the eyes of six individuals—the matriarch of a dissident Egyptian family; a Libyan Air Force cadet with divided loyalties; a Kurdish physician from a prominent warrior clan; a Syrian university student caught in civil war; an Iraqi activist for women’s rights; and an Iraqi day laborer-turned-ISIS fighter. A probing and insightful work of reportage, Fractured Lands offers a penetrating portrait of the contemporary Arab world and brings the stunning realities of an unprecedented geopolitical tragedy into crystalline focus.
My Promised LandAri Shavit
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW AND THE ECONOMIST Winner of the Natan Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today Not since Thomas L. Friedman’s groundbreaking From Beirut to Jerusalem has a book captured the essence and the beating heart of the Middle East as keenly and dynamically as My Promised Land . Facing unprecedented internal and external pressures, Israel today is at a moment of existential crisis. Ari Shavit draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, illuminating the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is larger than the sum of its parts: both personal and national, both deeply human and of profound historical dimension. We meet Shavit’s great-grandfather, a British Zionist who in 1897 visited the Holy Land on a Thomas Cook tour and understood that it was the way of the future for his people; the idealist young farmer who bought land from his Arab neighbor in the 1920s to grow the Jaffa oranges that would create Palestine’s booming economy; the visionary youth group leader who, in the 1940s, transformed Masada from the neglected ruins of an extremist sect into a powerful symbol for Zionism; the Palestinian who as a young man in 1948 was driven with his family from his home during the expulsion from Lydda; the immigrant orphans of Europe’s Holocaust, who took on menial work and focused on raising their children to become the leaders of the new state; the pragmatic engineer who was instrumental in developing Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, in the only interview he ever gave; the zealous religious Zionists who started the settler movement in the 1970s; the dot-com entrepreneurs and young men and women behind Tel-Aviv’s booming club scene; and today’s architects of Israel’s foreign policy with Iran, whose nuclear threat looms ominously over the tiny country. As it examines the complexities and contradictions of the Israeli condition, My Promised Land asks difficult but important questions: Why did Israel come to be? How did it come to be? Can Israel survive? Culminating with an analysis of the issues and threats that Israel is currently facing, My Promised Land uses the defining events of the past to shed new light on the present. The result is a landmark portrait of a small, vibrant country living on the edge, whose identity and presence play a crucial role in today’s global political landscape. Praise for My Promised Land “This book will sweep you up in its narrative force and not let go of you until it is done. [Shavit’s] accomplishment is so unlikely, so total . . . that it makes you believe anything is possible, even, God help us, peace in the Middle East.” —Simon Schama, Financial Times “[A] must-read book.” —Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times “Important and powerful . . . the least tendentious book about Israel I have ever read.” —Leon Wieseltier, The New York Times Book Review “Spellbinding . . . Shavit’s prophetic voice carries lessons that all sides need to hear.” —The Economist “One of the most nuanced and challenging books written on Israel in years.” —The Wall Street Journal From the Hardcover edition.
Lawrence in ArabiaScott Anderson
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY New York Times • Christian Science Monitor • NPR • Seattle Times • St. Louis Dispatch National Book Critics Circle Finalist -- American Library Association Notable Book A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history – the Arab Revolt and the secret “great game” to control the Middle East The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow.” Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theater. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. Curt Prüfer was an effete academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo, whose clandestine role was to foment Islamic jihad against British rule. Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Syria. William Yale was the fallen scion of the American aristocracy, who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was the most romantic figure of World War One, battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people. The intertwined paths of these four men – the schemes they put in place, the battles they fought, the betrayals they endured and committed – mirror the grandeur, intrigue and tragedy of the war in the desert. Prüfer became Germany’s grand spymaster in the Middle East. Aaronsohn constructed an elaborate Jewish spy-ring in Palestine, only to have the anti-Semitic and bureaucratically-inept British first ignore and then misuse his organization, at tragic personal cost. Yale would become the only American intelligence agent in the entire Middle East – while still secretly on the payroll of Standard Oil. And the enigmatic Lawrence rode into legend at the head of an Arab army, even as he waged secret war against his own nation’s imperial ambitions. Based on years of intensive primary document research, LAWRENCE IN ARABIA definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.
JerusalemSimon Sebag Montefiore
Jerusalem is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, fanaticism, bloodshed, and coexistence, from King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs, and revelations of the men and women who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient world of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia and Moshe Dayan. In this masterful narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings the holy city to life and draws on the latest scholarship, his own family history, and a lifetime of study to show that the story of Jerusalem is truly the story of the world. A New York Times Notable Book Jewish Book Council Book of the Year
A Peace to End All PeaceDavid Fromkin
Published with a new afterword from the author—the classic, bestselling account of how the modern Middle East was created The Middle East has long been a region of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and ambitions. All of these conflicts—including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis, and the violent challenges posed by Iraq's competing sects—are rooted in the region's political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed by the Allies after the First World War. In A Peace to End All Peace , David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies drew lines on an empty map that remade the geography and politics of the Middle East. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all seemed possible, he delivers in this sweeping and magisterial book the definitive account of this defining time, showing how the choices narrowed and the Middle East began along a road that led to the conflicts and confusion that continue to this day. A new afterword from Fromkin, written for this edition of the book, includes his invaluable, updated assessment of this region of the world today, and on what this history has to teach us.
The Lemon TreeSandy Tolan
With a new afterword by the author, and a sneak preview of Sandy Tolan's new book, Children of the Stone In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Based on extensive research, and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR's Fresh Air in 1998, Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.
MossadMichael Bar-Zohar & Nissim Mishal
"This book tells what should have been known and isn't—that Israel's hidden force is as formidable as its recognized physical strength." — Israeli President Shimon Peres For decades, Israel's renowned security arm, the Mossad, has been widely recognized as the best intelligence service in the world. In Mossad, authors Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal take us behind the closed curtain with riveting, eye-opening, boots-on-the-ground accounts of the most dangerous, most crucial missions in the agency's 60-year history. These are real Mission: Impossible true stories brimming with high-octane action—from the breathtaking capture of Nazi executioner Adolph Eichmann to the recent elimination of key Iranian nuclear scientists. Anyone who is fascinated by the world of international espionage, intelligence, and covert "Black-Ops" warfare will find Mossad electrifying reading.
Guests of the AyatollahMark Bowden
From the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down comes a riveting, definitive chronicle of the Iran hostage crisis, America’s first battle with militant Islam. On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by the revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They took fifty-two Americans hostage, and kept nearly all of them hostage for 444 days. In Guests of the Ayatollah , Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, the soldiers in a new special forces unit sent to free them, their radical, naïve captors, and the diplomats working to end the crisis. Bowden takes us inside the hostages’ cells and inside the Oval Office for meetings with President Carter and his exhausted team. We travel to international capitals where shadowy figures held clandestine negotiations, and to the deserts of Iran, where a courageous, desperate attempt to rescue the hostages exploded into tragic failure. Bowden dedicated five years to this research, including numerous trips to Iran and countless interviews with those involved on both sides. Guests of the Ayatollah is a detailed, brilliantly re-created, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.
The Longest WarPeter L. Bergen
TEN YEARS HAVE PASSED since the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center, and after seven years of conflict, the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq—only to move into Afghanistan, where the ten-year-old fight continues: the war on terror rages with no clear end in sight. In The Longest War Peter Bergen offers a comprehensive history of this war and its evolution, from the strategies devised in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to the fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond. Unlike any other book on this subject, here Bergen tells the story of this shifting war’s failures and successes from the perspectives of both the United States and al-Qaeda and its allies. He goes into the homes of al-Qaeda members, rooting into the source of their devotion to terrorist causes, and spends time in the offices of the major players shaping the U.S. strategic efforts in the region. At a time when many are frustrated or fatigued with what has become an enduring multigenerational conflict, this book will provide an illuminating narrative that not only traces the arc of the fight but projects its likely future. Weaving together internal documents from al-Qaeda and the U.S. offices of counterterrorism, first-person interviews with top-level jihadists and senior Washington officials, along with his own experiences on the ground in the Middle East, Bergen balances the accounts of each side, revealing how al-Qaeda has evolved since 9/11 and the specific ways the U.S. government has responded in the ongoing fight. Bergen also uncovers the strategic errors committed on both sides—the way that al-Qaeda’s bold attack on the United States on 9/11 actually undermined its objective and caused the collapse of the Taliban and the destruction of the organization’s safe haven in Afghanistan, and how al-Qaeda is actually losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world. The book also shows how the United States undermined its moral position in this war with its actions at Guantánamo and coercive interrogations—including the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar, who was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan in 2003 and was tortured for four years in Egyptian prisons; his case represents the first and only time that CIA officials have been charged and convicted of the crime of kidnapping. In examining other strategic blunders the United States has committed, Bergen offers a scathing critique of the Clinton and Bush administrations’ inability to accurately assess and counter the al-Qaeda threat, Bush’s deeply misguided reasons for invading Iraq—including the story of how the invasion was launched based, in part, on the views of an obscure academic who put forth theories about Iraq’s involvement with al-Qaeda—and the Obama administration’s efforts in Afghanistan. At a critical moment in world history The Longest War provides the definitive account of the ongoing battle against terror.
The Lion's GateSteven Pressfield
“A brilliant look into the psyche of combat. Where he once took us into the Spartan line of battle at Thermopylae, Steven Pressfield now takes us into the sands of the Sinai, the alleys of Old Jerusalem, and into the hearts and souls of soldiers winning a spectacularly improbable victory against daunting odds.” — General Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Army, ret.; author of My Share of the Task June 5, 1967. The nineteen-year-old state of Israel is surrounded by enemies who want nothing less than her utter extinction. The Soviet-equipped Egyptian Army has massed a thousand tanks on the nation’s southern border. Syrian heavy guns are shelling her from the north. To the east, Jordan and Iraq are moving mechanized brigades and fighter squadrons into position to attack. Egypt’s President Nasser has declared that the Arab force’s objective is “the destruction of Israel.” The rest of the world turns a blind eye to the new nation’s desperate peril. June 10, 1967. The Arab armies have been routed, ground divisions wiped out, air forces totally destroyed. Israel’s citizen-soldiers have seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan. The land under Israeli control has tripled. Her charismatic defense minister, Moshe Dayan, has entered the Lion’s Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem to stand with the paratroopers who have liberated Judaism’s holiest site—the Western Wall, part of the ruins of Solomon’s temple, which has not been in Jewish hands for nineteen hundred years. It is one of the most unlikely and astonishing military victories in history. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the war—fighter and helicopter pilots, tank commanders and Recon soldiers, paratroopers, as well as women soldiers, wives, and others—bestselling author Steven Pressfield tells the story of the Six Day War as you’ve never experienced it before: in the voices of the young men and women who battled not only for their lives but for the survival of a Jewish state, and for the dreams of their ancestors. By turns inspiring, thrilling, and heartbreaking, The Lion’s Gate is both a true tale of military courage under fire and a journey into the heart of what it means to fight for one’s people.
On Saudi ArabiaKaren Elliott House
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who has spent the last thirty years writing about Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, foreign editor, and then publisher of The Wall Street Journal —an important and timely book that explores all facets of life in this shrouded Kingdom: its tribal past, its complicated present, its precarious future. Through observation, anecdote, extensive interviews, and analysis Karen Elliot House navigates the maze in which Saudi citizens find themselves trapped and reveals the mysterious nation that is the world’s largest exporter of oil, critical to global stability, and a source of Islamic terrorists. In her probing and sharp-eyed portrait, we see Saudi Arabia, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, considered to be the final bulwark against revolution in the region, as threatened by multiple fissures and forces, its levers of power controlled by a handful of elderly Al Saud princes with an average age of 77 years and an extended family of some 7,000 princes. Yet at least 60 percent of the increasingly restive population they rule is under the age of 20. The author writes that oil-rich Saudi Arabia has become a rundown welfare state. The public pays no taxes; gets free education and health care; and receives subsidized water, electricity, and energy (a gallon of gasoline is cheaper in the Kingdom than a bottle of water), with its petrodollars buying less and less loyalty. House makes clear that the royal family also uses Islam’s requirement of obedience to Allah—and by extension to earthly rulers—to perpetuate Al Saud rule. Behind the Saudi facade of order and obedience, today’s Saudi youth, frustrated by social conformity, are reaching out to one another and to a wider world beyond their cloistered country. Some 50 percent of Saudi youth is on the Internet; 5.1 million Saudis are on Facebook. To write this book, the author interviewed most of the key members of the very private royal family. She writes about King Abdullah’s modest efforts to relax some of the kingdom’s most oppressive social restrictions; women are now allowed to acquire photo ID cards, finally giving them an identity independent from their male guardians, and are newly able to register their own businesses but are still forbidden to drive and are barred from most jobs. With extraordinary access to Saudis—from key religious leaders and dissident imams to women at university and impoverished widows, from government officials and political dissidents to young successful Saudis and those who chose the path of terrorism—House argues that most Saudis do not want democracy but seek change nevertheless; they want a government that provides basic services without subjecting citizens to the indignity of begging princes for handouts; a government less corrupt and more transparent in how it spends hundreds of billions of annual oil revenue; a kingdom ruled by law, not royal whim. In House’s assessment of Saudi Arabia’s future, she compares the country today to the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev arrived with reform policies that proved too little too late after decades of stagnation under one aged and infirm Soviet leader after another. She discusses what the next generation of royal princes might bring and the choices the kingdom faces: continued economic and social stultification with growing risk of instability, or an opening of society to individual initiative and enterprise with the risk that this, too, undermines the Al Saud hold on power. A riveting book—informed, authoritative, illuminating—about a country that could well be on the brink, and an in-depth examination of what all this portends for Saudi Arabia’s future, and for our own. From the Hardcover edition.
No religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular Western imagination as an extreme faith that promotes authoritarian government, female oppression, civil war, and terrorism. Karen Armstrong's short history offers a vital corrective to this narrow view. The distillation of years of thinking and writing about Islam, it demonstrates that the world's fastest-growing faith is a much richer and more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest. Islam: A Short History begins with the flight of Muhammad and his family from Medina in the seventh century and the subsequent founding of the first mosques. It recounts the origins of the split between Shii and Sunni Muslims, and the emergence of Sufi mysticism; the spread of Islam throughout North Africa, the Levant, and Asia; the shattering effect on the Muslim world of the Crusades; the flowering of imperial Islam in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries into the world's greatest and most sophisticated power; and the origins and impact of revolutionary Islam. It concludes with an assessment of Islam today and its challenges. With this brilliant book, Karen Armstrong issues a forceful challenge to those who hold the view that the West and Islam are civilizations set on a collision course. It is also a model of authority, elegance, and economy. From the Hardcover edition.
The BrigadeHoward Blum & Hardscrabble Entertainment, Inc.
November 1944. The British government finally agrees to send a brigade of 5,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army. But when the war ends and the soldiers witness firsthand the horrors their people have suffered in the concentration camps, the men launch a brutal and calculating campaign of vengeance, forming secret squads to identify, locate, and kill Nazi officers in hiding. Their own ferocity threatens to overwhelm them until a fortuitous encounter with an orphaned girl sets the men on a course of action—rescuing Jewish war orphans and transporting them to Palestine—that will not only change their lives but also help create a nation and forever alter the course of world history.
After the ProphetLesley Hazleton
In this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever. Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, beginning a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founder's controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad’s ideal of unity. Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia–Sunni split. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Inside the KingdomRobert Lacey
"It's all here-Islam, the family tree, a sea of oil and money to match, palace intrigue...This is high drama and an epic tale." -Tom Brokaw Though Saudi Arabia sits on one of the richest oil deposits in the world, it also produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. In this immensely important book, journalist Robert Lacey draws on years of access to every circle of Saudi society giving readers the fullest portrait yet of a land straddling the worlds of medievalism and modernity. Moving from the bloody seizure of Mecca's Grand Mosque in 1979, through the Persian Gulf War, to the delicate U.S.-Saudi relations in a post 9/11 world, Inside the Kingdom brings recent history to vivid life and offers a powerful story of a country learning how not to be at war with itself.
Like DreamersYossi Klein Halevi
Winner of the Everett Family Jewish Book of the Year Award (a National Jewish Book Award) and the RUSA Sophie Brody Medal. In Like Dreamers, acclaimed journalist Yossi Klein Halevi interweaves the stories of a group of 1967 paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem, tracing the history of Israel and the divergent ideologies shaping it from the Six-Day War to the present. Following the lives of seven young members from the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the unit responsible for restoring Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, Halevi reveals how this band of brothers played pivotal roles in shaping Israel’s destiny long after their historic victory. While they worked together to reunite their country in 1967, these men harbored drastically different visions for Israel’s future. One emerges at the forefront of the religious settlement movement, while another is instrumental in the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. One becomes a driving force in the growth of Israel’s capitalist economy, while another ardently defends the socialist kibbutzim. One is a leading peace activist, while another helps create an anti-Zionist terror underground in Damascus. Featuring an eight pages of black-and-white photos and maps, Like Dreamers is a nuanced, in-depth look at these diverse men and the conflicting beliefs that have helped to define modern Israel and the Middle East.
The Twilight WarDavid Crist
The dramatic secret history of our undeclared thirty-year conflict with Iran, revealing newsbreaking episodes of covert and deadly operations that brought the two nations to the brink of open war For three decades, the United States and Iran have engaged in a secret war. It is a conflict that has never been acknowledged and a story that has never been told. This surreptitious war began with the Iranian revolution and simmers today inside Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. Fights rage in the shadows, between the CIA and its network of spies and Iran's intelligence agency. Battles are fought at sea with Iranians in small speedboats attacking Western oil tankers. This conflict has frustrated five American presidents, divided administrations, and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare. It is a story of shocking miscalculations, bitter debates, hidden casualties, boldness, and betrayal. A senior historian for the federal government with unparalleled access to senior officials and key documents of several U.S. administrations, Crist has spent more than ten years researching and writing The Twilight War , and he breaks new ground on virtually every page. Crist describes the series of secret negotiations between Iran and the United States after 9/11, culminating in Iran's proposal for a grand bargain for peace-which the Bush administration turned down. He documents the clandestine counterattack Iran launched after America's 2003 invasion of Iraq, in which thousands of soldiers disguised as reporters, tourists, pilgrims, and aid workers toiled to change the government in Baghdad and undercut American attempts to pacify the Iraqi insurgency. And he reveals in vivid detail for the first time a number of important stories of military and intelligence operations by both sides, both successes and failures, and their typically unexpected consequences. Much has changed in the world since 1979, but Iran and America remain each other's biggest national security nightmares. "The Iran problem" is a razor-sharp briar patch that has claimed its sixth presidential victim in Barack Obama and his administration. The Twilight War adds vital new depth to our understanding of this acute dilemma it is also a thrillingly engrossing read, animated by a healthy irony about human failings in the fog of not-quite war.
Operation ThunderboltSaul David
The definitive account of one of the greatest Special Forces missions ever, the Raid of Entebbe, by acclaimed military historian Saul David. On June 27, 1976, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by a group of Arab and German terrorists who demanded the release of 53 terrorists. The plane was forced to divert to Entebbe, in Uganda--ruled by the murderous despot Idi Amin, who had no interest in intervening. Days later, Israeli commandos disguised as Ugandan soldiers assaulted the airport terminal, killed all the terrorists, and rescued all the hostages but three who were killed in the crossfire. The assault force suffered just one fatality: its commander, Yoni Netanyahu (brother of Israel's current Prime Minister.) Three of the country's greatest leaders: Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin planned and pulled off one of the most astonishing military operations in history.
The Middle EastBernard Lewis
In a sweeping and vivid survey, renowned historian Bernard Lewis charts the history of the Middle East over the last 2,000 years, from the birth of Christianity through the modern era, focusing on the successive transformations that have shaped it. Drawing on material from a multitude of sources, including the work of archaeologists and scholars, Lewis chronologically traces the political, economical, social, and cultural development of the Middle East, from Hellenization in antiquity to the impact of westernization on Islamic culture. Meticulously researched, this enlightening narrative explores the patterns of history that have repeated themselves in the Middle East. From the ancient conflicts to the current geographical and religious disputes between the Arabs and the Israelis, Lewis examines the ability of this region to unite and solve its problems and asks if, in the future, these unresolved conflicts will ultimately lead to the ethnic and cultural factionalism that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. Elegantly written, scholarly yet accessible, The Middle East is the most comprehensive single volume history of the region ever written from the world’s foremost authority on the Middle East.
All the Shah's MenStephen Kinzer
With a thrilling narrative that sheds much light on recent events, this national bestseller brings to life the 1953 CIA coup in Iran that ousted the country’s elected prime minister, ushered in a quarter-century of brutal rule under the Shah, and stimulated the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Economist , it now features a new preface by the author on the folly of attacking Iran.
The Oil KingsAndrew Scott Cooper
struggling with a recession . . . European nations at risk of defaulting on their loans . . . A possible global financial crisis. It happened before, in the 1970s . Oil Kings is the story of how oil came to dominate U.S. domestic and international affairs. As Richard Nixon fought off Watergate inquiries in 1973, the U.S. economy reacted to an oil shortage initiated by Arab nations in retaliation for American support of Israel in the Arab- Israeli war. The price of oil skyrocketed, causing serious inflation. One man the U.S. could rely on in the Middle East was the Shah of Iran, a loyal ally whose grand ambitions had made him a leading customer for American weapons. Iran sold the U.S. oil; the U.S. sold Iran missiles and fighter jets. But the Shah’s economy depended almost entirely on oil, and the U.S. economy could not tolerate annual double-digit increases in the price of this essential commodity. European economies were hit even harder by the soaring oil prices, and several NATO allies were at risk of default on their debt. In 1976, with the U.S. economy in peril, President Gerald Ford, locked in a tight election race, decided he had to find a country that would sell oil to the U.S. more cheaply and break the OPEC monopoly, which the Shah refused to do. On the advice of Treasury Secretary William Simon and against the advice of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Ford made a deal to sell advanced weaponry to the Saudis in exchange for a modest price hike on oil. Ford lost the election, but the deal had lasting consequences. The Shah’s economy was destabilized, and disaffected elements in Iran mobilized to overthrow him. The U.S. had embarked on a long relationship with the autocratic Saudi kingdom that continues to this day. Andrew Scott Cooper draws on newly declassified documents and interviews with some key figures of the time to show how Nixon, Ford, Kissinger, the CIA, and the State and Treasury departments—as well as the Shah and the Saudi royal family— maneuvered to control events in the Middle East. He details the secret U.S.-Saudi plan to circumvent OPEC that destabilized the Shah. He reveals how close the U.S. came to sending troops into the Persian Gulf to break the Arab oil embargo. The Oil Kings provides solid evidence that U.S. officials ignored warning signs of a potential hostage crisis in Iran. It discloses that U.S. officials offered to sell nuclear power and nuclear fuel to the Shah. And it shows how the Ford Administration barely averted a European debt crisis that could have triggered a financial catastrophe in the U.S. Brilliantly reported and filled with astonishing details about some of the key figures of the time, The Oil Kings is the history of an era that we thought we knew, an era whose momentous reverberations still influence events at home and abroad today.
One of the New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of the Year. The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the single most consequential event in Israel’s recent history, and one that fundamentally altered the trajectory for both Israel and the Palestinians. Killing a King relates the parallel stories of Rabin and his stalker, Yigal Amir, over the two years leading up to the assassination, as one of them planned political deals he hoped would lead to peace, and the other plotted murder. Dan Ephron, who reported from the Middle East for much of the past two decades, covered both the rally where Rabin was killed and the subsequent murder trial. He describes how Rabin, a former general who led the army in the Six-Day War of 1967, embraced his nemesis, Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, and set about trying to resolve the twentieth century’s most vexing conflict. He recounts in agonizing detail how extremists on both sides undermined the peace process with ghastly violence. And he reconstructs the relentless scheming of Amir, a twenty-five-year-old law student and Jewish extremist who believed that Rabin’s peace effort amounted to a betrayal of Israel and the Jewish people. As Amir stalked Rabin over many months, the agency charged with safeguarding the Israeli leader missed key clues, overlooked intelligence reports, and then failed to protect him at the critical moment, exactly twenty years ago. It was the biggest security blunder in the agency’s history. Through the prism of the assassination, much about Israel today comes into focus, from the paralysis in peacemaking to the fraught relationship between current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama. Based on Israeli police reports, interviews, confessions, and the cooperation of both Rabin’s and Amir’s families, Killing a King is a tightly coiled narrative that reaches an inevitable, shattering conclusion. One can’t help but wonder what Israel would look like today had Rabin lived.
Winner of the Jewish Book of the Year Award The first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present day, from Daniel Gordis, "one of the most respected Israel analysts" (The Forward) living and writing in Jerusalem. Israel is a tiny state, and yet it has captured the world’s attention, aroused its imagination, and lately, been the object of its opprobrium. Why does such a small country speak to so many global concerns? More pressingly: Why does Israel make the decisions it does? And what lies in its future? We cannot answer these questions until we understand Israel’s people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions. Though Israel’s history is rife with conflict, these conflicts do not fully communicate the spirit of Israel and its people: they give short shrift to the dream that gave birth to the state, and to the vision for the Jewish people that was at its core. Guiding us through the milestones of Israeli history, Gordis relays the drama of the Jewish people’s story and the creation of the state. Clear-eyed and erudite, he illustrates how Israel became a cultural, economic and military powerhouse—but also explains where Israel made grave mistakes and traces the long history of Israel’s deepening isolation. With Israel, public intellectual Daniel Gordis offers us a brief but thorough account of the cultural, economic, and political history of this complex nation, from its beginnings to the present. Accessible, levelheaded, and rigorous, Israel sheds light on the Israel’s past so we can understand its future. The result is a vivid portrait of a people, and a nation, reborn.
Inside the KingdomCarmen bin Ladin
Osama bin Laden's former sister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually intimate look into Saudi society and the bin Laden family's role within it, as well as the treatment of Saudi women. On September 11th, 2001, Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these horrifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her family would never be the same again. Carmen bin Ladin, half Swiss and half Persian, married into and later divorced from the bin Laden family and found herself inside a complex and vast clan, part of a society that she neither knew nor understood. Her story takes us inside the bin Laden family and one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressed kingdoms in the world.
The Crisis of IslamBernard Lewis
In his first book since What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis examines the historical roots of the resentments that dominate the Islamic world today and that are increasingly being expressed in acts of terrorism. He looks at the theological origins of political Islam and takes us through the rise of militant Islam in Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, examining the impact of radical Wahhabi proselytizing, and Saudi oil money, on the rest of the Islamic world. The Crisis of Islam ranges widely through thirteen centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the twentieth century leading up to the violent confrontations of today: the creation of the state of Israel, the Cold War, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and the September 11th attacks on the United States. While hostility toward the West has a long and varied history in the lands of Islam, its current concentration on America is new. So too is the cult of the suicide bomber. Brilliantly disentangling the crosscurrents of Middle Eastern history from the rhetoric of its manipulators, Bernard Lewis helps us understand the reasons for the increasingly dogmatic rejection of modernity by many in the Muslim world in favor of a return to a sacred past. Based on his George Polk Award–winning article for The New Yorker , The Crisis of Islam is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Usama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world. From the Hardcover edition.
The Terror YearsLawrence Wright
With the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright became generally acknowledged as one of our major journalists writing on terrorism in the Middle East. Here, in ten powerful pieces first published in The New Yorker, he recalls the path that terror in the Middle East has taken, from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS. The Terror Years draws on several articles he wrote while researching The Looming Tow er , as well as many that he’s written since, following where and how al-Qaeda and its core cultlike beliefs have morphed and spread. They include a portrait of the “man behind bin Laden,” Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the tumultuous Egypt he helped spawn; an indelible impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, at the time compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; the 2006–11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in the disparate value of human lives. Other chapters examine al-Qaeda as it forms a master plan for its future, experiences a rebellion from within the organization, and spins off a growing web of worldwide terror. The American response is covered in profiles of two FBI agents and the head of the intelligence community. The book ends with a devastating piece about the capture and slaying by ISIS of four American journalists and aid workers, and our government’s failed response. On the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, The Terror Years is at once a unifying recollection of the roots of contemporary Middle Eastern terrorism, a study of how it has grown and metastasized, and, in the scary and moving epilogue, a cautionary tale of where terrorism might take us yet. From the Hardcover edition.
The Fall of HeavenAndrew Scott Cooper
An immersive, gripping account of the rise and fall of Iran's glamorous Pahlavi dynasty, written with the cooperation of the late Shah's widow, Empress Farah, Iranian revolutionaries and US officials from the Carter administration In this remarkably human portrait of one of the twentieth century's most complicated personalities, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Andrew Scott Cooper traces the Shah's life from childhood through his ascension to the throne in 1941. He draws the turbulence of the post-war era during which the Shah survived assassination attempts and coup plots to build a modern, pro-Western state and launch Iran onto the world stage as one of the world's top five powers. Readers get the story of the Shah's political career alongside the story of his courtship and marriage to Farah Diba, who became a power in her own right, the beloved family they created, and an exclusive look at life inside the palace during the Iranian Revolution. Cooper's investigative account ultimately delivers the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty through the eyes of those who were there: leading Iranian revolutionaries; President Jimmy Carter and White House officials; US Ambassador William Sullivan and his staff in the American embassy in Tehran; American families caught up in the drama; even Empress Farah herself, and the rest of the Iranian Imperial family. Intimate and sweeping at once, The Fall of Heaven recreates in stunning detail the dramatic and final days of one of the world's most legendary ruling families, the unseating of which helped set the stage for the current state of the Middle East.
Istanbul: A HistoryDavid Jacobs
For centuries, the inlet called the Golden Horn and the city on the hills overlooking it were situated in the middle of the known world. To the south, through the Dardanelles and the Aegean Sea, lay the Mediterranean, around which the Greek, Roman, Persian, and Arab worlds revolved. To the north, through the Bosporus, lay the Black Sea, with its Russian and eastern European coastline. And across the narrow Bosporus was Asia Minor, bridge to the Orient. Because of its strategic location, the city on the Golden Horn was coveted by a succession of different peoples. But even though it frequently was under siege, even though control of it often changed hands, and even though, indeed, it was conquered and leveled more than once, the city proved to be virtually immortal. Founded nearly twenty-seven centuries ago as the Greek colony of Byzantium, the city was harassed by the barbaric Thracians, attacked by the Persians, vied for by the Athenians and Spartans. Weakened and dispirited, its citizens finally were forced to seek the protection of Rome, and the city became little more than a Roman outpost. Then, in the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine I decided to build his capital on the site. It was in the new city of Constantinople that ancient Greco-Roman culture was married to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and that Western civilization became Christian civilization. As the center of the vast Byzantine Empire, the city was one of the richest and most important on earth. But because of its wealth, it was sacked by the Crusaders in 1204. And because of its strategic location, it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Since then, as the city of Istanbul, it has remained an international metropolis, a city of East and West, a city whose great paintings, mosaics, statuary, and architecture reflect the many cultures that have been centered there and the many ages the city has survived. Here is its story.
“Timely . . . brilliant . . . hugely enjoyable, magnificently researched and deeply absorbing.”—Jason Goodwin, New York Times Book Review At midnight, December 31, 1925, citizens of the newly proclaimed Turkish Republic celebrated the New Year. For the first time ever, they had agreed to use a nationally unified calendar and clock. Yet in Istanbul—an ancient crossroads and Turkey's largest city—people were looking toward an uncertain future. Never purely Turkish, Istanbul was home to generations of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, as well as Muslims. It welcomed White Russian nobles ousted by the Russian Revolution, Bolshevik assassins on the trail of the exiled Leon Trotsky, German professors, British diplomats, and American entrepreneurs—a multicultural panoply of performers and poets, do-gooders and ne’er-do-wells. During the Second World War, thousands of Jews fleeing occupied Europe found passage through Istanbul, some with the help of the future Pope John XXIII. At the Pera Palace, Istanbul's most luxurious hotel, so many spies mingled in the lobby that the manager posted a sign asking them to relinquish their seats to paying guests. In beguiling prose and rich character portraits, Charles King brings to life a remarkable era when a storied city stumbled into the modern world and reshaped the meaning of cosmopolitanism.
The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in ArabiaGregory D. Johnsen
“The best new book on al Qaeda . . . and the best book on Yemen in years.”—Bruce Riedel, Daily Beast Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States and al-Qaeda are fighting a clandestine war of drones and suicide bombers in an unforgiving corner of Arabia. The Last Refuge charts the rise, fall, and resurrection of al-Qaeda in Yemen over the last thirty years, detailing how a group that the United States once defeated has now become one of the world’s most dangerous threats. An expert on Yemen who has spent years on the ground there, Gregory D. Johnsen uses al-Qaeda’s Arabic battle notes to reconstruct their world as they take aim at the United States and its allies. Johnsen brings readers in-side al-Qaeda’s training camps and safe houses as the terrorists plot poison attacks and debate how to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day. The Last Refuge is an eye-opening look at the successes and failures of fighting a new type of war in one of the most turbulent countries in the world.
“Will shape our thinking about America and the Middle East for years.”—Christopher Dickey, Newsweek Power, Faith, and Fantasytells the remarkable story of America's 230-year relationship with the Middle East. Drawing on a vast range of government documents, personal correspondence, and the memoirs of merchants, missionaries, and travelers, Michael B. Oren narrates the unknown story of how the United States has interacted with this vibrant and turbulent region.
The Siege of MeccaYaroslav Trofimov
In The Siege of Mecca , acclaimed journalist Yaroslav Trofimov pulls back the curtain on a thrilling, pivotal, and overlooked episode of modern history, examining its repercussions on the Middle East and the world. On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. That same morning, gunmen stunned the world by seizing the Grand Mosque in Mecca, creating a siege that trapped 100,000 people and lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths. But in the days before CNN and Al Jazeera, the press barely took notice. Trofimov interviews for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, and draws upon hundreds of newly declassified documents. With the pacing, detail, and suspense of a real-life thriller, The Siege of Mecca reveals the long-lasting aftereffects of the uprising and its influence on the world today.
The Prisoner in His PalaceWill Bardenwerper
In the haunting tradition of In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song , this remarkably insightful and surprisingly intimate portrait of Saddam Hussein lifts away the top layer of a dictator’s evil and finds complexity beneath as it invites us to take a journey with twelve young American soldiers in the summer of 2006. Trained to aggressively confront the enemy in combat, the men learn, shortly after being deployed to Iraq, that fate has assigned them a different role. It becomes their job to guard the country’s notorious leader in the months leading to his execution. Living alongside, and caring for, their “high value detainee” in a former palace dubbed The Rock and regularly transporting him to his raucous trial, many of the men begin questioning some of their most basic assumptions—about the judicial process, Saddam’s character, and the morality of modern war. Although the young soldiers’ increasingly intimate conversations with the once-feared dictator never lead them to doubt his responsibility for unspeakable crimes, the men do discover surprising new layers to his psyche that run counter to the media’s portrayal of him. Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death. In this artfully constructed narrative, Saddam, the “man without a conscience,” gets many of those around him to examine theirs. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Prisoner in His Palace reveals what it is like to discover in one’s ruthless enemy a man, and then deliver him to the gallows.
The Great War for CivilisationRobert Fisk
A sweeping and dramatic history of the last half century of conflict in the Middle East from an award-winning journalist who has covered the region for over forty years, The Great War for Civilisation unflinchingly chronicles the tragedy of the region from the Algerian Civil War to the Iranian Revolution; from the American hostage crisis in Beirut to the Iran-Iraq War; from the 1991 Gulf War to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. A book of searing drama as well as lucid, incisive analysis, The Great War for Civilisation is a work of major importance for today's world.
Princess, More Tears to CryJean Sasson
When Jean Sasson's book Princess: Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia was published, it became an immediate international bestseller. It sold to 43 countries and spent 13 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Now, in this long-awaited, compelling new book, Sasson and Princess Sultana return to tell the world what it means to be a Saudi woman today. Through advances in education and with access to work, Saudi women are breaking through barriers; they are becoming doctors, social workers, business owners. Major steps forward have been made. But this is not the whole story. Sadly, despite changes in the law, women are still subjected to terrible suppression, abuse and crimes of psychological and physical violence. For many, the struggle for basic human rights continues. PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY reveals the intimate struggles of Saudi women inside one of the richest, most conservative kingdoms in the world. These are stories of triumph and heartbreak amongst the highest- and lowest-born. Princess Sultana speaks frankly about her strong-willed daughters, her beloved husband and the contentious Al-Saud family whose daily battles about what it means to be a woman in Saudi Arabia mirror those of the society at large. PRINCESS, MORE TEARS TO CRY is an unforgettable journey into the hearts and minds of Saudi women, and will be forever etched into the memory of readers. PRAISE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER PRINCESS: "Absolutely riveting and profoundly sad..." --People magazine "A chilling story...a vivid account of an air-conditioned nightmare..." --Entertainment Weekly "Must-reading for anyone interested in human rights." --USA Today "Shocking...candid...sad, sobering, and compassionate..." --San Francisco Chronicle
The Yom Kippur WarAbraham Rabinovich
In this galvanizing account of the most dramatic of the Arab-Israeli hostilities, Abraham Rabinovich, who reported the conflict for the Jerusalem Post, transports us into the midst of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rabinovich’s masterly narrative begins as Israel convinces itself there will be no war, while Egypt and Syria plot the two-front conflict. Then, on Yom Kippur, Saturday, October 6, 1973, we see Arab armies pouring across the shattered Bar-Lev Line in the Sinai and through the Golan defenses. Even the famed Israeli air force could not stop them. On the Golan alone, Syria sent 1,460 tanks against Israel’s 177, and 115 artillery batteries against Israel’s 11. And for the first time, footsoldiers wielding anti-tank weapons were able to stop tank charges, while surface-to-air missiles protected those troops from air attack Rabinovich takes us into this inferno and into the inner sanctums of military and political decision making. He allows us to witness the dramatic turnaround that had the Syrians on the run by the following Wednesday and the great counterattack across the Suez Canal that, once begun, took international intervention to halt. Using extensive interviews with both participants and observers, and with access to recently declassified materials, Rabinovich shows that the drama of the war lay not only in the battles but also in the apocalyptic visions it triggered in Israel, the hopes and fears it inspired in the Arab world, the heated conflicts on both sides about the conduct of the war, and the concurrent American face-off with the Soviets in Washington, D.C., Moscow, and the Mediterranean. A comprehensive account of one of the pivotal conflicts of the twentieth century. From the Hardcover edition.
The Devil We KnowRobert Baer
Over the past thirty years, while the United States has turned either a blind or dismissive eye, Iran has emerged as a nation every bit as capable of altering America’s destiny as traditional superpowers Russia and China. Indeed, one of this book’s central arguments is that, in some ways, Iran’s grip on America’s future is even tighter. As ex–CIA operative Robert Baer masterfully shows, Iran has maneuvered itself into the elite superpower ranks by exploiting Americans’ false perceptions of what Iran is—by letting us believe it is a country run by scowling religious fanatics, too preoccupied with theocratic jostling and terrorist agendas to strengthen its political and economic foundations. The reality is much more frightening—and yet contained in the potential catastrophe is an implicit political response that, if we’re bold enough to adopt it, could avert disaster. Baer’s on-the-ground sleuthing and interviews with key Middle East players—everyone from an Iranian ayatollah to the king of Bahrain to the head of Israel’s internal security—paint a picture of the centuries-old Shia nation that is starkly the opposite of the one normally drawn. For example, Iran’s hate-spouting President Ahmadinejad is by no means the true spokesman for Iranian foreign policy, nor is Iran making it the highest priority to become a nuclear player. Even so, Baer has discovered that Iran is currently engaged in a soft takeover of the Middle East, that the proxy method of war-making and co-option it perfected with Hezbollah in Lebanon is being exported throughout the region, that Iran now controls a significant portion of Iraq, that it is extending its influence over Jordan and Egypt, that the Arab Emirates and other Gulf States are being pulled into its sphere, and that it will shortly have a firm hold on the world’s oil spigot. By mixing anecdotes with information gleaned from clandestine sources, Baer superbly demonstrates that Iran, far from being a wild-eyed rogue state, is a rational actor—one skilled in the game of nations and so effective at thwarting perceived Western colonialism that even rival Sunnis relish fighting under its banner. For U.S. policy makers, the choices have narrowed: either cede the world’s most important energy corridors to a nation that can match us militarily with its asymmetric capabilities (which include the use of suicide bombers)—or deal with the devil we know. We might just find that in allying with Iran, we’ll have increased not just our own security but that of all Middle East nations.The alternative—to continue goading Iran into establishing hegemony over the Muslim world—is too chilling to contemplate. From the Hardcover edition.
El Arte de la Guerra es el mejor libro de estrategia de todos los tiempos. Inspiró a Napoleón, Maquiavelo, Mao Tse Tung y muchas más figuras históricas. Este libro de dos quinientos mil años de antigüedad, es uno de los más importantes textos clásicos chinos, en el que, a pesar del tiempo transcurrido, ninguna de sus máximas ha quedado anticuada, ni hay un solo consejo que hoy no sea útil. Pero la obra del general Sun Tzu no es únicamente un libro de práctica militar, sino un tratado que enseña la estrategia suprema de aplicar con sabiduría el conocimiento de la naturaleza humana en los momentos de confrontación. No es, por tanto, un libro sobre la guerra; es una obra para comprender las raíces de un conflicto y buscar una solución. "la mejor victoria es vencer sin combatir", nos dice Sun Tzu, "y ésa es la distinción entre le hombre prudente y el ignorante".
In the Service of the SultanIan R. Gardiner
While the Americans were fighting in Vietnam, a struggle of even greater strategic significance was taking place in the Middle East: the Sultanate of Oman guards the entrance to the Arabian Gulf, and thus controls the movement of oil from that region. In the 1960s and 70s, the Communists tried to seize this artery and, had they succeeded, the consequences for the West and for the Middle East would have been disastrous - and yet, few people have ever heard of this geo-political drama at the height of the Cold War. In the Service of the Sultan tells, first-hand, the largely unknown story of a small number of British officers who led Muslim soldiers in this hard-fought anti-insurgency war which has shaped today’s Gulf. After outlining the historical, geographical and political background, the book describes military action in a stark and mountainous environment, including operations with irregular forces and the SAS as well as action in the air and at sea. The book gives a gripping, moving, funny account of all these and paints a powerful and illuminating picture of the realities of war. It will appeal to all who are interested in the Cold War and relationships between the Western and the Arab worlds. Politics, history, irregular warfare, religion, international affairs: all are ingredients in this absorbing, informative read. In the light of the current insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is also timely to be reminded how a rare victory was won over Communist guerrillas.
Assassins of the Turquoise PalaceRoya Hakakian
On the evening of September 17, 1992, eight leading members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition had gathered at a little-known restaurant in Berlin when two darkly-clad men burst through the entrance. Within moments, the roar of a machine gun filled the air. Two rounds of fire and four single shots later, four of the men were dead. One of the survivors of that shooting, along with the widow of one of the victims and a handful of reporters, attorneys, and fellow exiles, began a crusade that would not only pit them against Tehran but against some of the greatest powers in Germany. When an undeterred federal prosecutor, and an endlessly patient chief judge, took over the case, a historic verdict followed which shook both Europe and Iran, and achieved something few could have predicted justice. Roya Hakakian’s The Assassins of the Turquoise Palace is an incredible book of history and reportage, and an unforgettable narrative of heroism and justice.
The Afghan WarsRupert Colley
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. Britain has invaded Afghanistan twice before in the nineteenth century. Both times tenacious Afghan fighters defended their country to humiliating British defeats. The Soviet Union also discovered what a tough enemy the Afghans are after nearly a decade of conflict from 1979 to 1989. When not fighting foreign invaders, Afghanistan was torn apart by Civil War from 1990 to 1996, resulting in victory for the Taliban. The Afghan Wars in an Hour is an excellent way to learn all about the complex wars that have been fought in Afghanistan for almost four decades. It explains who the Taliban and the Mujahedeen are and how their politics work. It explores why Osama Bin Laden was so significant, and helps us understand why, still, it is so hard to achieve peace Afghanistan. Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour… Reviews ‘If the past is a foreign country, History in an Hour is like a high-class tour operator, offering delightfully enjoyable short breaks in the rich and diverse continent of our shared past’ Dominic Sandbrook ‘The practice of History is ever-evolving, and the History In An Hour idea brings it back up to date for the digital age’ Andrew Roberts, Bookseller ‘This is genius’ MacWorld.com About the author Rupert Colley was a librarian in Enfield for 22 years until September 2011. A history graduate, he launched the original History In An Hour in 2009 with a website, blog and ‘World War Two In An Hour’ as an iPhone app. He then expanded it to Kindle, iBooks and into the USA with a series of titles, and enlisted new writers by encouraging guest bloggers on the website. History In An Hour was acquired by Scott Pack for HarperCollins in 2011.
Spies Against Armageddon -- Inside Israel's Secret WarsDan Raviv & Yossi Melman
In a prologue, 25 action-packed chapters, and detailed endnotes, SPIES AGAINST ARMAGEDDON: INSIDE ISRAEL'S SECRET WARS covers more ground than any other book about modern-day Israel. It is filled with colorful characters, who risk their lives and reputations in the secret service of their nation. Fully updated for 2014, in light of upheavals in the Middle East including Syria's civil war, coups in Egypt, nuclear talks with Iran, and Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians, this history of the Mossad and the other espionage and security agencies of Israel spotlights unique people who have contributed to the success and survival of the Jewish state. The authors had a national best seller in 1990, Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community, and also wrote about U.S.-Israeli relations in Friends In Deed. Dan Raviv is a CBS News correspondent currently based in Washington, and Yossi Melman is an award-winning Israeli journalist based in Tel Aviv. They have a global reputation for being fair and balanced, without exaggeration about Israel's covert achievements -- and some flaws -- in the defense of a nation that always sees itself as embattled.
The Weight of a Mustard SeedWendell Steavenson
“A masterly and elegantly told story that weaves together the Iraqi past and present.” —New York Times Book Review “A first-class investigation…that tells the reader more about the tensions of living close to power in Saddam’s dictatorship.” —Washington Post The Weight of a Mustard Seed is an unprecedented and intimate account of Iraqi life under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, revealed through the tragic story of one of the dictator’s loyal generals. Journalist Wendell Steavenson writes thrilling nonfiction with a novelist’s flair, offering a new perspective on life inside a totalitarian regime that is as moving, compelling, and dramatic as The Kite Runner and The Bookseller of Kabul.
Walking IsraelMartin Fletcher
From the much lauded author of Breaking News comes a version of Walking the Bible just for Israel. With its dense history of endless conflict and biblical events, Israel's coastline is by far the most interesting hundred miles in the world. As longtime chief of NBC's Tel Aviv news bureau, Martin Fletcher is in a unique position to interpret Israel, and he brings it off in a spectacular and novel manner. Last year he strolled along the entire coast, from Lebanon to Gaza, observing facets of the country that are ignored in news reports, yet tell a different and truer story. Walking Israel is packed with hilarious moments, historical insights, emotional, true-life tales, and, above all, great storytelling.
Spring FeverAndrew C McCarthy
The first fundamental truth about the "Arab Spring" is that there never was one. The salient fact of the Middle East, the only one, is Islam. The Islam that shapes the Middle East inculcates in Muslims the self-perception that they are members of a civilization implacably hostile to the West. The United States is a competitor to be overcome, not the herald of a culture to be embraced. Is this self-perception based on objective truth? Does it reflect an accurate construction of Islam? It is over these questions that American officials and Western intellectuals obsess. Yet the questions are irrelevant. This is not a matter of right or wrong, of some posture or policy whose subtle tweaking or outright reversal would change the facts on the ground. This is simply, starkly, the way it is. Every human heart does not yearn for freedom. In the Islam of the Middle East, "freedom" means something very nearly the opposite of what the concept connotes to Westerners it is the freedom that lies in total submission to Allah and His law. That law, sharia, is diametrically opposed to core components of freedom as understood in the West beginning with the very idea that man is free to make law for himself, irrespective of what Allah has ordained. It is thus delusional to believe, as the West's Arab Spring fable insists, that the region teems with Jamal al-Madisons holding aloft the lamp of liberty. Do such revolutionary reformers exist? Of course they do . . . but in numbers barely enough to weave a fictional cover story. When push came to shove and worse the reformers were overwhelmed, swept away by a tide of Islamic supremacism, the dynamic, consequential mass movement that beckons endless winter. That is the real story of the Arab Spring that, and the Pandora's Box that opens when an American administration aligns with that movement, whose stated goal is to destroy America.
The Aleppo CodexMatti Friedman
Winner of the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature A thousand years ago, the most perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written. It was kept safe through one upheaval after another in the Middle East, and by the 1940s it was housed in a dark grotto in Aleppo, Syria, and had become known around the world as the Aleppo Codex. Journalist Matti Friedman’s true-life detective story traces how this precious manuscript was smuggled from its hiding place in Syria into the newly founded state of Israel and how and why many of its most sacred and valuable pages went missing. It’s a tale that involves grizzled secret agents, pious clergymen, shrewd antiquities collectors, and highly placed national figures who, as it turns out, would do anything to get their hands on an ancient, decaying book. What it reveals are uncomfortable truths about greed, state cover-ups, and the fascinating role of historical treasures in creating a national identity.
Gideon's SpiesGordon Thomas
In the secret world of spies and covert operations, no other intelligence service continues to be as surrounded by myth and mystery as the Mossad. Gordon Thomas reveals that all too often the truth exceeds all the fantasies about the Mossad. Revised and updated for 2015, this new edition includes: - Mossad's secret meeting in 2013 with Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief to plan for Israel to use Saudi to attack Iran should the Geneva discussion fail to be honored by Iran. - The attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor that will be the flight path to an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. - Mossad's new cyber-war unit preparing to launch its own pre-emptive strike. - Why Mossad's former director, Meir Dagan, has spoken out against an attack on Iran. - Mossad agents who operate in the "Dark Side" of the internet to track terrorists. - Mossad's drone and its first killing. - Mossad's role in the defense of Israel's Embassy in Cairo during the Arab Spring. - An introduction to Mossad's new director, Tamir Pardo. These and other stunning details combine to give Gideon's Spies the sense of urgency and relevance that is characteristic of truly engrossing nonfiction.
The Conservative Mind: From Burke to EliotRussell Kirk
The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk is arguably one of the greatest contributions to twentieth-century American Conservatism. Brilliant in every respect, from its conception to its choice of significant figures representing the history of intellectual conservatism, The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk launched the modern American Conservative Movement. A must-read.
The ReckoningPatrick Bishop
Renowned military historian Patrick Bishop revisits the death of notorious Zionist leader Avraham Stern—head of the infamous Stern Gang—challenging the prevailing account of his demise. The charismatic mastermind of a series of high-profile terrorist attacks with the goal of attaining Jewish independence and statehood, Avraham Stern was driven by his belief that he was the Jewish liberator of British Palestine. By early 1942 he was the most wanted man in Palestine, forced to take refuge in an attic in Tel Aviv to evade Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton, who was assigned to track him down. Stern's capture and death have been debated and endlessly contested over the years. The official British report stated that Stern was attempting to escape, and Morton had reason to believe that he had explosives. However, witnesses claimed that it was a cold-blooded murder that precipitated a cult of martyrdom, precluding any possibility of a détente among the British, the Arabs, and the Jews, and inspiring his followers for many years. The Reckoning chronicles Patrick Bishop's fascinating quest to uncover the truth about Stern's ignominious death. Bishop gained access to Morton's private archive and interviews with witnesses, and relates a dramatic story that resonates to this very day in one of the world's most conflicted regions. Bishop's gripping narrative describes without bias what actually transpired in the safe house where Stern was discovered. He relates Stern's capture in the context of the complex battle to expel the British from Palestine and secure Jewish independence. These men appear to have nothing in common, yet Bishop succeeds in depicting critical traits that they did share—dedication to their causes and an unflinching determination to achieve their goals at all costs. Bishop makes a strong case for the impact of Stern's shooting in the remaining years of British rule through meticulous research and a profound understanding of the forces at play during this historic conflagration.
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