Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Clearly written and accessible- a great introduction to the Middle East
on 6 July 2011
This book is clear and accessible and a fanatstic introduction to the Middle East.
The book is arranged into chronological order, briefly outlining pre-1945 events and the region's imperial history. It assumes no previous knowledge, but is not patronising and goes into lots of detail. The chapters are divided into broad time periods and countries, such as the Gulf War, Six Day War and a whole chapter on Lebanon. In most chapters, the book gives a sort of 'update' about all the countries of the region which is very useful. The book is very up-to-date. Though written before the Arab Spring, it is very useful to understanding the causes of recent uprisings.
It is perhaps impossible for an author to be unbiased on such a controversial issue, but the book is as fair and balanced as it can be. Those supporting Israel would probably say it is biased against them, so it is always worth using the Internet or other books as well to research some of the issues. It is an excellent starting point for readers to do their own research from.
My only minor criticism is the exclusion of the history of Afghanistan from the book. Whilst it may not be technically a part of the Middle East, it is hugely important to the region and I think an extra chapter would be warranted. The book briefly discusses the 2001 intervention, but does not outline the history of Afghanistan that is crucial to understanding that war.
Overall, a fantastic book that I urge everyone to put a small amount of time into understanding this fascinating region.