Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World is a fresh and informed account of the modern world's most intractable conflict.
In the 1920s, hard-line Zionists developed the doctrine of the 'Iron Wall': negotiations with the Arabs must always be from a position of military strength, and only when sufficiently strong Israel would be able to make peace with her Arab neighbours.
This doctrine, argues Avi Shlaim, became central to Israeli policy; dissenters were marginalized and many opportunities to reconcile with Palestinian Arabs were lost. Drawing on a great deal of new material and interviews with many key participants, Shlaim places Israel's political and military actions under and uncompromising lens.
His analysis will bring scant comfort to partisans on both sides, but it will be required reading for anyone interested in this fascinating and troubled region of the world.
'The Iron Wall is strikingly fair-minded, scholarly, cogently reasoned and makes enthralling ... reading'
Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph
'Anyone wanting to understand the modern Middle East should start by reading this elegantly written and scrupulously researched book'
Trevor Royle, Sunday Herald
'A milestone in modern scholarship of the Middle East'
'Fascinating ... Shlaim presents compelling evidence for a revaluation of traditional Israeli history'
Ethan Bronner, The New York Times Book Review
Avi Shlaim is Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford. His previous books include Collusion Across the Jordan (1988) and War and Peace in the Middle East (1995).