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4.5 out of 5 stars16
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 17 January 2012
For such a complex situation, this book deals concisely and simply with the Middle East, since the early 1900s. For someone like myself who has a rudimetary understanding (or thought I did) of the Middle East this book is great. Written very simply, with end of chapter "main points" simply laid out. I bought this book thinking it would be a long hard read, and probably reread. However the authour is to be applauded in guiding you through such a complex issue with a very easy and concise syle of writing that makes you want to read this book in one go! In conclusion, after stumbling accross this, it is probably, the most valuable book I have read in years!
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on 16 October 2014
I think background knowledge is required when reading this book as it tends to skim over events and is more like a reminder of what has gone on rather than a book for someone new to the subject.
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on 11 December 2013
Well written, informative and easy to read, interesting commentary, includes small sections for quick reading, and a timeline of events.
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on 10 December 2013
Reading this book made the problems in the middle east made it very easy to understand all the troubles that have been going on .
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on 9 April 2016
Ordered this as a "go-to" book and it hasn't disappointed. It doesn't go into great detail on topics but definitely loads enough content to allow for own further research to be conducted.

The book is laid out in an appropriate way which starts with basic geographical and religious knowledge on the Middle East.

I highly recommend this book if you wish to gain a greater understanding on how the Middle East has got to where it is today.
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on 21 September 2013
I purchased this as I know very little history on the Middle East and with the rescent events in Syria I wanted to a better understanding on this place. It certainly does that from what I can tell from other sources. I found it an easy read and the Kindle edition helped to jump back and forth wherer it suggested.

Well worth the price if you are in my position.
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on 8 January 2013
Compelling book, very interesting for whoever want to better understand the middle east challenges, a must read.
Clearly written, accessible without a Phd, and very well thought. Well done.
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on 23 May 2015
Invaluable and readable insight into the Middle East. Good structure and chapter overviews / summaries mean a complex subject is made clear. Ends in 2010 so needs an update hence 4 stars.
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on 9 October 2011
Arrived very speedily and in perfect condition. Great service from seller and extremely useful introduction into middle east politics. Would highly recommend both book and seller.
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