Top Middle East History Ebook Best Sellers

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Rise and Kill First - Ronen Bergman Cover Art

Rise and Kill First

Rise and Kill First The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by  The New York Times  as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.” The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively. In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions. Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism). Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world. “A remarkable feat of fearless and responsible reporting . . . important, timely, and informative.”—John le Carré

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Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor - Yossi Klein Halevi Cover Art

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor

Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi

New York Times bestseller "A profound and original book, the work of a gifted thinker."--Daphne Merkin, The Wall Street Journal Attempting to break the agonizing impasse between Israelis and Palestinians, the Israeli commentator and award-winning author of Like Dreamers directly addresses his Palestinian neighbors in this taut and provocative book, empathizing with Palestinian suffering and longing for reconciliation as he explores how the conflict looks through Israeli eyes. I call you "neighbor" because I don’t know your name, or anything personal about you. Given our circumstances, "neighbor" might be too casual a word to describe our relationship. We are intruders into each other’s dream, violators of each other’s sense of home. We are incarnations of each other’s worst historical nightmares. Neighbors? Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli’s powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians and into the hearts of "the enemy." In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East. This is the first attempt by an Israeli author to directly address his Palestinian neighbors and describe how the conflict appears through Israeli eyes. Halevi untangles the ideological and emotional knot that has defined the conflict for nearly a century. In lyrical, evocative language, he unravels the complex strands of faith, pride, anger and anguish he feels as a Jew living in Israel, using history and personal experience as his guide. Halevi’s letters speak not only to his Palestinian neighbor, but to all concerned global citizens, helping us understand the painful choices confronting Israelis and Palestinians that will ultimately help determine the fate of the region.

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My Promised Land - Ari Shavit Cover Art

My Promised Land

My Promised Land The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari 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.

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Lawrence in Arabia - Scott Anderson Cover Art

Lawrence in Arabia

Lawrence in Arabia War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott 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.

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Jerusalem - Simon Sebag Montefiore Cover Art

Jerusalem

Jerusalem The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore

“This is an essential book for those who wish to understand a city that remains a nexus of world affairs.” — Booklist  (starred) 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

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Mossad - Michael Bar-Zohar & Nissim Mishal Cover Art

Mossad

Mossad The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service by Michael 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.

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The Lemon Tree - Sandy Tolan Cover Art

The Lemon Tree

The Lemon Tree An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy 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.

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A Peace to End All Peace - David Fromkin Cover Art

A Peace to End All Peace

A Peace to End All Peace The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David 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.

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The Longest War - Peter L. Bergen Cover Art

The Longest War

The Longest War The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda by Peter 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.

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The Lion's Gate - Steven Pressfield Cover Art

The Lion's Gate

The Lion's Gate On the Front Lines of the Six Day War by Steven 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.

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On Saudi Arabia - Karen Elliott House Cover Art

On Saudi Arabia

On Saudi Arabia Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines - and Future by Karen 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.

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Guests of the Ayatollah - Mark Bowden Cover Art

Guests of the Ayatollah

Guests of the Ayatollah The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam by Mark 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.

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The Brigade - Howard Blum & Hardscrabble Entertainment, Inc. Cover Art

The Brigade

The Brigade An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII by Howard 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.

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The Twilight War - David Crist Cover Art

The Twilight War

The Twilight War The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran by David 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.

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Islam - Karen Armstrong Cover Art

Islam

Islam A Short History by Karen Armstrong

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.

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Operation Thunderbolt - Saul David Cover Art

Operation Thunderbolt

Operation Thunderbolt Flight 139 and the Raid on Entebbe Airport, the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History by Saul David

*By the historical consultant to the major motion picture Seven Days in Entebbe* 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.

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The Middle East - Bernard Lewis Cover Art

The Middle East

The Middle East by Bernard 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.

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Istanbul: A History - David Jacobs Cover Art

Istanbul: A History

Istanbul: A History by David 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.

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The Oil Kings - Andrew Scott Cooper Cover Art

The Oil Kings

The Oil Kings How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew 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.

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All the Shah's Men - Stephen Kinzer Cover Art

All the Shah's Men

All the Shah's Men An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen 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.

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Israel - Daniel Gordis Cover Art

Israel

Israel A Concise History of a Nation Reborn by Daniel Gordis

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.

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Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel - Dan Ephron Cover Art

Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel

Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel by Dan Ephron

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History and 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. In Killing a King, Dan Ephron 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. "Carefully reported, clearly presented, concise and gripping," It stands as "a reminder that what happened on a Tel Aviv sidewalk 20 years ago is as important to understanding Israel as any of its wars" (Matti Friedman, The Washington Post).

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The Crisis of Islam - Bernard Lewis Cover Art

The Crisis of Islam

The Crisis of Islam Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard 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.

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The Terror Years - Lawrence Wright Cover Art

The Terror Years

The Terror Years From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State by Lawrence 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.

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Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul - Charles King Cover Art

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King

“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.

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The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia - Gregory D. Johnsen Cover Art

The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia

The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia by Gregory 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.

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Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present - Michael B. Oren Cover Art

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren

“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.

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The Great War for Civilisation - Robert Fisk Cover Art

The Great War for Civilisation

The Great War for Civilisation The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert 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.

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The Devil We Know - Robert Baer Cover Art

The Devil We Know

The Devil We Know Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower by Robert 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.

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Spring Fever - Andrew C McCarthy Cover Art

Spring Fever

Spring Fever The Illusion of Islamic Democracy by Andrew 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.

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The Yom Kippur War - Abraham Rabinovich Cover Art

The Yom Kippur War

The Yom Kippur War The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich

An updated edition that sheds new light on one of the most dramatic reversals of military fortune in modern history. The easing of Israeli military censorship after four decades has enabled Abraham Rabinovich to offer fresh insights into this fiercest of Israel-Arab conflicts. A surprise Arab attack on two fronts on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, with Israel’s reserves un-mobilized, triggered apocalyptic visions in Israel, euphoria in the Arab world, and fraught debates on both sides. Rabinovich, who covered the war for  The Jerusalem Post,  draws on extensive interviews and primary source material to shape his enthralling narrative. We learn of two Egyptian nationals, working separately for the Mossad, who supplied Israel with key information that helped change the course of the war; of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s proposal for a nuclear “demonstration” to warn off the Arabs; and of Chief of Staff David Elazar’s conclusion on the fifth day of battle that Israel could not win. Newly available transcripts enable us to follow the decision-making process in real time from the prime minister’s office to commanders studying maps in the field. After almost overrunning the Golan Heights, the Syrian attack is broken in desperate battles. And as Israel regains its psychological balance, General Ariel Sharon leads a nighttime counterattack across the Suez Canal through a narrow hole in the Egyptian line -- the turning point of the war.

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The Weight of a Mustard Seed - Wendell Steavenson Cover Art

The Weight of a Mustard Seed

The Weight of a Mustard Seed The Intimate Story of an Iraqi General and His Family During Thirty Years of Tyranny by Wendell 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.

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The Middle East For Dummies - Craig S. Davis Cover Art

The Middle East For Dummies

The Middle East For Dummies by Craig S. Davis

Demystifies the area's culture, politics, and religions Explore Middle Eastern history from ancient to modern times Looking to better understand the Middle East? This plain-English guide explains the importance of the region, especially in light of recent events. You'll meet its people and their leaders, discover the differences and similarities between Arab and Western mindsets, and examine the wars and conflicts - including the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil - that led up to the current political situation. The Dummies Way * Explanations in plain English * "Get in, get out" information * Icons and other navigational aids * Tear-out cheat sheet * Top ten lists * A dash of humor and fun

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Princess, More Tears to Cry - Jean Sasson Cover Art

Princess, More Tears to Cry

Princess, More Tears to Cry by Jean 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

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The Afghan Wars - Rupert Colley Cover Art

The Afghan Wars

The Afghan Wars History in an Hour by Rupert 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.

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Assassins of the Turquoise Palace - Roya Hakakian Cover Art

Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

Assassins of the Turquoise Palace by Roya 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.

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Walking Israel - Martin Fletcher Cover Art

Walking Israel

Walking Israel A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation by Martin 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.

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The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria - Janine di Giovanni Cover Art

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine di Giovanni

A New York Post Best Book of 2016 Winner of the 2016 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award Winner of the 2016 Hay Festival Medal for Prose "Destined to become a classic." —Lisa Shea, Elle A masterpiece of war reportage, The Morning They Came for Us bears witness to one of the most brutal internecine conflicts in recent history. Drawing from years of experience covering Syria for Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the front page of the New York Times, award-winning journalist Janine di Giovanni chronicles a nation on the brink of disintegration, all written through the perspective of ordinary people. With a new epilogue, what emerges is an unflinching picture of the horrific consequences of armed conflict, one that charts an apocalyptic but at times tender story of life in a jihadist war zone. The result is an unforgettable testament to resilience in the face of nihilistic human debasement.

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The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot - Russell Kirk Cover Art

The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot

The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot From Burke to Eliot by Russell 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.

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Spies Against Armageddon -- Inside Israel's Secret Wars - Dan Raviv & Yossi Melman Cover Art

Spies Against Armageddon -- Inside Israel's Secret Wars

Spies Against Armageddon -- Inside Israel's Secret Wars Updated & Revised by Dan 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. Recent upheavals in the Middle East include Syria's civil war, coups in Egypt, a controversial nuclear deal with Iran, and a sense of despair between Israelis and Palestinians. This history of the Mossad and the other espionage and security agencies of Israel spotlights unique people who have contributed to the survival, success, but continuing crises 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.-Israel relations in "Friends In Deed." Dan Raviv is an i24NEWS TV correspondent 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 flaws -- in the defense of a nation that always sees itself as embattled.

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Freedom at Midnight - Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre Cover Art

Freedom at Midnight

Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre

“There is no single passage in this profoundly researched book that one could actually fault. Having been there most of the time in question and having assisted at most of the encounters, I can vouch for the accuracy of its general mood. It is a work of scholarship, of investigation, research and of significance.” —James Cameron, The New York Sunday Times “ Freedom at Midnight is a panoramic spectacular of a book that reads more like sensational fiction than like history, even though it is all true….. The narrative is as lively, as informative and as richly detailed as a maharaja’s palace.” —Judson Hand, The New York Daily News “The cinematic style, including flashes back and forward and cuts from epic panoramas to clinical close-ups of people caught in the historical turmoil of the time, is disciplined by a firm, clear narrative. The book is as readable as those popular novels in which fiction is mixed with a painstakingly researched factual account.” —Neil Maxwell, The New York Review of Books “In this song of India, authors Collins and Lapierre again display their celebrated flair for the epic. Religious confrontations, the border wars, the political sacrifices are illuminated like scenes in pageant. The very sounds and odors of a finished world are resurrected……… The book’s best portrait is of the man who dwarfs the other three—Mahatma Gandhi—that tiny ascetic who for 30 years harried his British rulers with fasts and passive resistance. The most moving pages of Freedom at Midnight show him doing what battalions of soldiers could not: preventing by his frail presence the slaughter of Moslems and Hindus in Calcutta.” —J. Cocks, Time Magazine “Outrageously and endlessly fascinating is my awestruck reaction to Freedom at Midnight . The new sure-to-be bestseller by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It is all here: maharajas and tigers, filth and squalor, extravagance and macabre sex, massacres, smells, starvation, cruelty and heroism. Collins and Lapierre have made human history breathtaking and heartbreaking.” —Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe  “No subject, I thought, as I picked up Freedom at Midnight , could be of less interest to me than a story of how Independence came to India after three centuries of British rule. I opened the book and began to flip through the photographs: here was a picture of Gandhi dressed in his loincloth going to have tea with the King of England; there was a picture of a maharaja being measured against his weight in gold; and another of thousands of vultures devouring corpses in the street. I began to read, fascinated. Here was the whole chronicle illustrated with anecdotes and masterful character sketches of how the British had come to India, how they had ruled it and how, finally, compelled by the force of economics and history, they had been forced to leave it divided…… Collins and Lapierre are such good writers that their books are so interesting that they are impossible to put down.” —J.M. Sanchez, The Houston Chronicle *** Description: The end of an empire. The birth of two nations. Seventy years ago, at midnight on August 14, 1947, the Union Jack began its final journey down the flagstaff of Viceroy’s House, New Delhi. A fifth of humanity claimed their independence from the greatest empire history has ever seen—but the price of freedom was high, as a nation erupted into riots and bloodshed, partition and war. Freedom at Midnight is the true story of the events surrounding Indian independence, beginning with the appointment of Lord Mountbatten of Burma as the last Viceroy of British India, and ending with the assassination and funeral of Mahatma Gandhi. The book was an international bestseller and achieved enormous acclaim in the United States, Italy, Spain, and France. This edition contains 20 black-and-white photos, five maps, a full bibliography, extensive notes, and a dedication from Dominique Lapierre to the memory of his longtime writing partner Larry Collins. *** About the Authors – Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre The enormous success of the international writing partnership of Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre was based on the phenomenal bestsellers Is Paris Burning? , Or I’ll Dress You in Mourning , O Jerusalem! , Freedom at Midnight , and The Fifth Horseman . The last-named work was their fifth novel. Collins and Lapierre were a unique team in that each wrote in his own language and their works were then published simultaneously in French and English before being translated into sixteen other languages. Their work was distinguished by immense attention to detail and thorough research. Since the publication of their last joint work, The Fifth Horseman , Collins has published three bestselling novels, Fall From Grace , Maze , and Black Eagles , while Lapierre published two nonfiction bestsellers, The City of Joy and Beyond Love .

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Crescent and Star - Stephen Kinzer Cover Art

Crescent and Star

Crescent and Star Turkey Between Two Worlds by Stephen Kinzer

"A sharp, spirited appreciation of where Turkey stands now, and where it may head." —Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer In the first edition of this widely praised book, Stephen Kinzer made the convincing claim that Turkey was the country to watch -- poised between Europe and Asia, between the glories of its Ottoman past and its hopes for a democratic future, between the dominance of its army and the needs of its civilian citizens, between its secular expectations and its Muslim traditions. In this newly revised edition of Crescent and Star , he adds much important new information on the many exciting transformations in Turkey's government and politics that have kept it in the headlines, and also shows how recent developments in both American and European policies (and not only the war in Iraq) have affected this unique and perplexing nation.

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No Room for Small Dreams - Shimon Peres Cover Art

No Room for Small Dreams

No Room for Small Dreams Courage, Imagination, and the Making of Modern Israel by Shimon Peres

In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen. In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.

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Bible and Sword - Barbara W. Tuchman Cover Art

Bible and Sword

Bible and Sword England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour by Barbara W. Tuchman

From Barbara W. Tuchman, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Guns of August, comes history through a wide-angle lens: a fascinating chronicle of Britain’s long relationship with Palestine and the Middle East, from the ancient world to the twentieth century.   Historically, the British were drawn to the Holy Land for two major reasons: first, to translate the Bible into English and, later, to control the road to India and access to the oil of the Middle East. With the lucidity and vividness that characterize all her work, Barbara W. Tuchman follows these twin spiritual and imperial motives—the Bible and the sword—to their seemingly inevitable endpoint, when Britain conquered Palestine at the conclusion of World War I. At that moment, in a gesture of significance and solemnity, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 established a British-sponsored mandate for a national home for the Jewish people. Throughout this characteristically vivid account, Tuchman demonstrates that the seeds of conflict were planted in the Middle East long before the official founding of the modern state of Israel.   Praise for Bible and Sword   “Tuchman is a wise and witty writer, a shrewd observer with a lively command of high drama.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer   “In her métier as a narrative popular historical writer, Barbara Tuchman is supreme.” — Chicago Sun-Times From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Raid on the Sun - Rodger Claire Cover Art

Raid on the Sun

Raid on the Sun Inside Israel's Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb by Rodger Claire

The first authorized inside account of one of the most daring—and successful—military operations in recent history From the earliest days of his dictatorship, Saddam Hussein had vowed to destroy Israel. So when France sold Iraq a top-of-the-line nuclear reactor in 1975, the Israelis were justifiably concerned—especially when they discovered that Iraqi scientists had already formulated a secret program to extract weapons-grade plutonium from the reactor, a first critical step in creating an atomic bomb. The reactor formed the heart of a huge nuclear plant situated twelve miles from Baghdad, 1,100 kilometers from Tel Aviv. By 1981, the reactor was on the verge of becoming “hot,” and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin knew he would have to confront its deadly potential. He turned to Israeli Air Force commander General David Ivry to secretly plan a daring surgical strike on the reactor—a never-before-contemplated mission that would prove to be one of the most remarkable military operations of all time. Written with the full and exclusive cooperation of the Israeli Air Force high command, General Ivry (ret.), and all of the eight mission pilots (including Ilan Ramon, who become Israel’s first astronaut and perished tragically in the shuttle Columbia disaster), Raid on the Sun tells the extraordinary story of how Israel plotted the unthinkable: defying its U.S. and European allies to eliminate Iraq’s nuclear threat. In the tradition of Black Hawk Down , journalist Rodger Claire re-creates a gripping tale of personal sacrifice and survival, of young pilots who trained in the United States on the then-new, radically sophisticated F-16 fighter bombers, then faced a nearly insurmountable challenge: how to fly the 1,000-plus-kilometer mission to Baghdad and back on one tank of fuel. He recounts Israeli intelligence’s incredible “black ops” to sabotage construction on the French reactor and eliminate Iraqi nuclear scientists, and he gives the reader a pilot’s-eye view of the action on June 7, 1981, when the planes roared off a runway on the Sinai Peninsula for the first successful destruction of a nuclear reactor in history.

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Sex and the Citadel - Shereen el Feki Cover Art

Sex and the Citadel

Sex and the Citadel Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen el Feki

** Kirkus Best Books of the Year (2013)** If you really want to know a people, start by looking inside their bedrooms.   As political change sweeps the streets and squares, the parliaments and presidential palaces of the Arab world, Shereen El Feki has been looking at an upheaval a little closer to home—in the sexual lives of men and women in Egypt and across the region. The result is an informative, insightful, and engaging account of a highly sensitive and still largely secret aspect of Arab society.   Sex is entwined in religion, tradition, politics, economics, and culture, so it is the perfect lens through which to examine the complex social landscape of the Arab world. From pregnant virgins to desperate housewives, from fearless activists to religious firebrands, from sex work to same-sex relations, Sex and the Citadel takes a fresh look at the sexual history of the region and brings new voices to the debate over its future.   This is no peep show or academic treatise but a highly personal and often humorous account of one woman’s journey to better understand Arab society at its most intimate and, in the process, to better understand her own origins. Rich with five years of groundbreaking research, Sex and the Citadel gives us a unique and timely understanding of everyday lives in a part of the world that is changing before our eyes. From the Hardcover edition.

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A History of the Middle East - Peter Mansfield & Nicolas Pelham Cover Art

A History of the Middle East

A History of the Middle East Fourth Edition by Peter Mansfield & Nicolas Pelham

The definitive history of the Middle East, thoroughly revised and updated  "The best overall survey of the politics, regional rivalries and economics of the contemporary Arab World." - The Washington Post   One of the most crucial, volatile, and complex regions of the modern world, the Middle East has long confounded the dreams of conquerors and peacemakers alike. This now-classic book, fully updated to 2012 and still the essential work on the subject, follows the historic struggles of the Middle East from Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt and Syria, through the slow decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of Islam and its recent resurgence. For this fourth edition, Economist correspondent Nicolas Pelham contributes an extensive new section examining recent developments throughout the Middle East, including the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the situation in Iran, the region’s relations with the United States under President Obama, the Arab Spring, and more.

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Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel - Robert Gandt Cover Art

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel

Angels in the Sky: How a Band of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel by Robert Gandt

The gripping story of how an all-volunteer air force helped defeat five Arab nations and protect the fledgling Jewish state. In 1948, only three years after the Holocaust, the newly founded nation of Israel came under siege from a coalition of Arab states. The invaders vowed to annihilate the tiny country and its 600,000 settlers. A second Holocaust was in the making. Outnumbered sixty to one, the Israelis had no allies, no regular army, no air force, no superpower to intercede on their behalf. The United States, Great Britain, and most of Europe enforced a strict embargo on the shipment of arms to the embattled country. In the first few days, the Arab armies overran Israel. The Egyptian air force owned the sky, making continuous air attacks on Israeli cities and army positions. Israel’s extinction seemed certain. And then came help. From the United States, Canada, Britain, France, South Africa arrived a band of volunteer airmen. Most were World War II veterans—young, idealistic, swaggering, noble, eccentric, courageous beyond measure. Many were Jews, a third were not. Most of them knowingly violated their nations’ embargoes on the shipment of arms and aircraft to Israel. They smuggled in Messerschmitt fighters from Czechoslovakia, painting over swastikas with Israeli stars. Defying their own countries’ strict laws, the airmen risked everything—their lives, careers, citizenship—to fight for Israel. They were a small group, fewer than 150. In the crucible of war they became brothers in a righteous cause. They flew, fought, died, and, against all odds, helped save a new nation. The saga of the volunteer airmen in Israel’s war of independence stands as one of the most stirring—and untold—war stories of the past century.

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Afghanistan - Thomas Barfield Cover Art

Afghanistan

Afghanistan A Cultural and Political History by Thomas Barfield

Afghanistan traces the historic struggles and the changing nature of political authority in this volatile region of the world, from the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century to the Taliban resurgence today. Thomas Barfield introduces readers to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He shows how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in a small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan's rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets. Armed insurgency proved remarkably successful against the foreign occupiers, but it also undermined the Afghan government's authority and rendered the country ever more difficult to govern as time passed. Barfield vividly describes how Afghanistan's armed factions plunged the country into a civil war, giving rise to clerical rule by the Taliban and Afghanistan's isolation from the world. He examines why the American invasion in the wake of September 11 toppled the Taliban so quickly, and how this easy victory lulled the United States into falsely believing that a viable state could be built just as easily. Afghanistan is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how a land conquered and ruled by foreign dynasties for more than a thousand years became the "graveyard of empires" for the British and Soviets, and what the United States must do to avoid a similar fate.

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Children of Paradise - Laura Secor Cover Art

Children of Paradise

Children of Paradise The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor

The drama that shaped today’s Iran, from the Revolution to the present day.   In 1979, seemingly overnight—moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world—Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon. But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be. They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them.   With more than a decade of experience reporting on, researching, and writing about Iran, Laura Secor narrates this unprecedented history as a story of individuals caught up in the slipstream of their time, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with their country’s apparatus of violent repression as well as its rich and often tragic history. Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been more entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting; an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change. From the Hardcover edition.

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