Review by Black, Matthew:
As a x2 Iraq vet, I was always troubled and interested in the modern history of the middle east. If you want a really gut-wrenching account of how the west completely screwed up an entire region, look no further. The incompetence of civic leaders, their blatant arrogance and greed, their backdoor dealings and re-dealings, the political swings, the sheer luck of some incidents, and the silliness of so-called “intellectuals”, comes to the fore in this great book. If you have dreams of quality international politics or agreements, this book will shatter them. Many of the accounts could easily have been written today and be believable.
The book is well divided into chapters, but requires careful reading to keep up with the people, places, and politics. A quick bio of key players right at the outset would have been quite beneficial.
Only giving it four stars because it really needs some full-page maps, particularly for the campaigns and showing national boundaries in the 1918s. Finding a quality map of the late Ottoman Empire and modern middle east is essential if you’re going to follow the campaigns, as the map is unfortunately devoid of any maps. GoogleEarth was a great help, and you can also get an idea for the key terrain (Hejaz for example)
A Peace to End All Pea... Best Price: $3.99 Buy New $5.00 (as of 11:45 EST - Details) Review by Barry Melius
Lord Byron wrote a poem describing how seeing a small thing in depth allows you to see the grand whole. For me A Peace to End All Peace is that to the Mid East. Reading this has taught me more about why the Mid East is the way it is than decades of reading newspapers in the mistaken idea I was being informed. Researched over a ten year period prior to publication in 1989,David Fromkin has obviously done his homework with this detailed account of the disposition of the Mid East in the decade surrounding WW I. Arrogant,racist,harried,scared,overburdened,and occasionally well-intentioned officials of the British and to a lesser extent the Russian, American, French, Ottoman, and German empires of that age carved up the existing arrangement of borders and power structures and slapped something together on their way to the next crisis. It didn’t always turn out the way they hoped. The fact that the British Empire was possibly the most humane in recorded history makes The Peace to End All Peace eye-opening to a stark degree. The most unsettling aspect of this book happens as it slowly sinks in that the bumbling, arrogant, uncaring way of conducting the relationships between nations back then is almost certainly the way our leaders continue to shape affairs today. His work also gives a solid snapshot of the British empire as it reached it height and began its rather rapid slide into a small island with a grand heritage. As the preponderance of his extensive sources were British he tends to treat England a bit gently at the expense of France and Russia(IMHO). Churchill also gets off mildly while some politicians, many career bureaucrats and numerous military get their toes held to the fire, probably rightly so. The latest edition(2017) has an afterword added by Fromkin in 2009 twenty years after its original publication noting that the self-serving attitude of the empires in this book are absolutely the norm for known history and it is only very recently that wo/mankind has progressed to the point of a sense of a shared humanity that has resulted in readers being shocked and outraged at the careless, arrogant way our fates are ordered by the powers that be. The fact that this is a superb view of a nodal point of history is certainly one reason to read it or like me, you could just read it because it was a highly satisfying way to spend a few hours.
Reprinted from Amazon.com.
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