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Road to 9/11 [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Road to 9/11 [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £9.69

5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced overview of the Middle East since World War One... in less than an hour! Even C4 in the UK screened it!, 25 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was broadcast on Channel Four TV in the UK in September 2005, around the same time it went out on PBS in the USA. Sadly C4 seemed rather embarrassed about ever broadcasting it. This is probably because some important parts of this film will not have gone down very well with some British Muslims and with our important strategic ally, Saudi Arabia.

Sadly this is only available on Region 1 DVD, so I had to change the configuration of my PC just for this one DVD! Still, I remembered from when I saw it on C4 almost ten years ago that it would be worth the trouble.

Despite the title, the film actually gives a broad and balanced overview of the whole history of the so-called 'Middle East' since the end of the First World War - or at least as much as could be expected in less than one hour!

The credited 'historical advisor' and lead contributor is Bernard Lewis and there is a good mix of various other speakers. Still, we are in safe hands with Lewis, who is always worth listening to, even if you disagree with him.

(Only truly ignorant and deeply prejudiced people dismiss Lewis out of hand, but sadly there are a lot of such people about, especially those who've fallen under the spell of Edward Said's 'Orientalism', which Robert Irwin described as 'a work of malignant charlatanry' (n his book 'For Lust of Knowing' and that is coming from someone who whole-heartedly agrees with Said's Palestinian campaigning!).

The start of the film is the weakest part, where all the usual stuff is repeated about the 'golden age' of Islam and Britain and France dividing the Ottoman Empire: Efraim Karsh's book 'Empires of Sand' is a good antidote to this, as is the older work of the late great Elie Kedourie.

From there on in, I have no major complaints. It is worth buying just for the Nazi newsreel footage of Haj Amin al-Husseini, although sadly they don't say anything about his post-war career with the Arab League and mentoring his cousin, 'Yasser' Arafat.

The refreshing but brief remarks about the Palestinian refugee problem might be puzzling to people who only are only familiar with the blinkered, superficial and repetitive coverage of this we get in the media. If you want a good DVD on this topic, then I recommend 'Hostages of Hatred' by Pierre Rehov, who also made another film about the lesser known (but actually more numerous!) Jewish refugees from Arab countries: 'The Silent Exodus'.


Abdullah Gül and the Making of the New Turkey
Abdullah Gül and the Making of the New Turkey
by Gerald M. MacLean
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.00

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Author doesn't know Turkish & previous track record not encouraging. Read Andrew Finkel or Hugh Pope instead., 22 Jan. 2015
This is more of a 'preview' than a review, because I think unwary potential readers are in need of a word of warning about the author, who has little or no relevant expertise or experience for writing this book.

Gerald Maclean is a Professor of English Literature with research expertise in 17th century poetry. From what I've read of his books and journal articles, he doesn't read or speak Turkish, unless he has started to learn very recently.

He has been made a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, despite the fact that all his books are about English language literary and cultural depictions of the Ottomans, not history or Asiatic literature or history on its own terms.

If I wanted to read a book on modern Turkey I would start with Andrew Finkel's 'Turkey: What everyone needs to know' (2012). Finkel is an American journalist and 20-year veteran Turkey correspondent, whose Turkish is apparently good enough for him to have written for Turkish language newspapers and made appearances on Turkish TV.

Finkel's view of the AK party seems to have hardened in recent years and there was some controversy over why he was sacked by the Turkish newspaper 'Today's Zaman'. (Was this yet another example of Turkish media self-censorship out of fear of the increasingly intolerant AK party, who have imprisoned more journalists than any other government in the world - including Putin in Russia?). Finkel still maintains a regular 'latitude' blog for The New York Times, which is available to view online for free.

Otherwise, another American veteran Turkey correspondent, Hugh Pope, has written a modern history of Turkey together with his Swiss wife, Nicole Pope. It's called 'Turkey Unveiled'.

Curiously enough, Maclean seems to have befriended Andrew Finkel's wife, Dr. Caroline Finkel, an historian of the Ottoman Empire. Maclean enthusiastically promoted Caroline Finkel's general history of the Ottoman Empire, 'Osman's Dream' and she has returned the favour by promoting Maclean's work. Caroline Finkel and Maclean's 'partner' (as he calls her in the 'acknowledgements' pages of his books) Donna Landry have co-written a travel guide based on Evliya Celebi's travels, borne out of a shared enthusiasm for pony trekking.

Some of Finkel's blog entries and (customarily anonymous) articles for 'The Economist' suggest that Abdullah Gul has been a restraining influence on the personal ambitions of Erdogan, but that hardly detracts from Gul's own openly stated commitment to dismantling Attaturk's secular constitution or his personal involvement in curtailing civil liberties and pursuing a more aggressive and divisive foreign policy (i.e. getting friendly with Iran and supporting Hamas, while turning against Israel and, more recently, turning against Bashir Assad and supporting the Islamist Syrian rebels, including implicit acceptance of Islamic State).

So, I will be interested to see if Andrew Finkel will be persuaded to openly endorse this book. Or will Maclean make do with including Andrew Finkel's name on his 'acknowledgements' page, thus gaining some indirect prestige through personal association without having to take the risk of asking Finkel what he thinks of Maclean's finished product?

P.S. In the preface to his 2004 book 'The Rise of Oriental Travel' Maclean openly declares himself as both a Marxist and Postmodernist, as though they are things to be proud of. He also seems to imply that anyone who disagrees with his rose-tinted view of Islam and the Ottoman Empire is automatically an Islamophobic, racist, imperialist and (gasp!) a Zionist. Just read his online review of Nancy Bisaha's book for the 'Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies' (2007) if you think I'm exaggerating.

The one selling point here seems to be exclusive personal interviews with Gul (either in English or through an interpreter), but English language interviews with Gull can be found online, e.g. His March 2009 interview with Euro News.

So, I would play safe and read Andrew Finkel's book (and blog) first and then approach Maclean's book with caution and scepticism. If Maclean has anything intelligent or informed to say at all then he will be taking his cues from Finkel.


Earthworks
Earthworks
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £16.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning debut still as fresh as the grass green cover art!, 8 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Earthworks (Audio CD)
1980s electro-jazz fusion may not sound a particularly promising proposition nowadays, but Bill Bruford is still right to have listed the first Earthworks album as one of his eight best recordings (in Modern Drummer magazine in 1995).
Bruford's experiments with electronic percussion are quirky and engaging, while he is aided and abetted by the wilful eccentricity of British jazz enfant terrible (as he was then) Django Bates, together with other young talents Iain Ballamy and Mick Hutton. Yet, at the end of the day its less about experimentation and virtuosity and more about fresh, stunning compositions that still sound great. Even now Earthworks is an acoustic band with a new set of players, 'My Heart Declares A Holiday' and 'Bridge of Inhibition' have remained robust concert favourites.
Most biographical notes on Bates and Ballamy don't mention Bruford, but if you're coming to this from a jazz background then you shouldn't turn your nose up at Bruford... unless you don't like Bates and Ballamy either!!
If you're coming to this from a rock music background then 1980s King Crimson and Bruford's work on David Torn's 'Cloud About Mercury' should prepare you for what you get here.
Oh yes, it's also got a great cover design!


Three of a Perfect Pair
Three of a Perfect Pair
Offered by adrians_records
Price: £18.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three completes the set, but the quality is variable, 16 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Three of a Perfect Pair (Audio CD)
First up, this is the late 80s first CD issue, isn't it? So if you can get it cheap or second hand then it's fine for the music, but otherwise you're better off with the remastered version. Otherwise...
'Discipline' is a classic, 'Beat' is almost just as good if not better (although unfairly overlooked), so if you've already got those two then You'll want to complete the set of 80s Crimson with this, right?
Well, there's some great stuff on this, but it lacks the consistently high quality of the previous two albums. Belew's songs are more pop oriented, while Fripp and Levin are off noodling with synthesizers and Bruford is stuck their somewhere behind his increasingly bewildering experimental drum set up.
The studio album may be a bit hit and miss, but they were still great live: check out 'Absent Lovers'.
P.S.
David Torn's 'Cloud About Mercury'(1987) features both Bruford Levin and amounts to something slightly more than a consolation prize to Crimson fans who are disappointed with this third 80s outing: In other words the Torn album is brilliant.


In the Court of Crimson King
In the Court of Crimson King
Offered by playanywhere
Price: £9.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic first Crimson outing given new clothes, 16 Jan. 2004
What else can I add to what's already been said about this album? Well, I've made some personal comments below, but what you really want to know is if it's worth getting the remastered edition, right? I'd say yes, not because I'm a hi-fi buff who appreciates all the little audio nuances, but because they've made a much better job of transferring the artwork to CD and have put together a fascinating little 'scrapbook' for the inlay card: all old band photos, reviews from the music press, etc.
And the music? It really captured the 'zeitgeist' of 1969 and the band got the thumbs up from Pete Townshend and the Rolling Stones, but has it really aged well? 21st Century Schizoid Man is an incendiary jazzy tour de force, while the rest of the album is more 'tasteful' melancholic 'hippy music': all flutes and mellotrons and mystical lyrics. All very well done if that's your thing. The band fell apart, of course, and by the time Fripp put together an entirely new band for 'Larks' Tongues...' Crimson had become a leaner, meaner sort of band whose music has at least aged better, but the first band is special for the 'what might have been' factor. I actually think their live recordings now released on the 'Epitaph' album give a much better idea of what made the first band so special and exciting than the studio album does.


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