A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East Paperback – 26 Apr 2012
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'With superb research and telling quotations, Barr has skewered the whole shabby story' --The Times
'Lively and entertaining. He has scoured the diplomatic archives of the two powers and has come up with a rich haul that brings his narrative to life' --Financial Times
'James Barr's history of imperial machinations in the Middle East offers a revelatory slant on the continuing crisis in that area... an outstanding piece of research and a damning take on what stoked current Middle Eastern woes' --Metro
'Barr plunges us straight into the mindset of two relatively junior officials, François Georges-Picot and Mark Sykes, in the maelstrom of 1915... And there he keeps us for the next 30 years, not hovering with the historians in high Olympic judgement on the fates of nations, but with the journalists and spies at the very grubby coalface of foreign policy...I found the entire book most horribly addictive, even if the ultimate picture it paints of the actions of the two Western powers is sordid, muddled and hypocritical' --Independent
'Barr describes the complexities of Anglo-French intrigues against each other and - in 1941 - outright war in Syria' --Sunday Times
'Masterful' --The Spectator
'James Barr has succeeded better than any author before him in telling the fascinating story of Anglo-French rivalries in the modern Middle East... Outstanding' --Eugene Rogan, author of 'The Arabs: A History'
'The book resembles a gripping spy thriller...an expertly researched and authoritative book that is easy to read' --Military Times
'Barr is particularly good at identifying and portraying officials and agents engaged in these tit-for-tat reprisals that blurred the distinction between patriotism and crime' --Literary Review
'Engaging and well-researched... James Barr's lively account provides some quite astounding sketches of bluster, bickering and bravado'
--BBC History Magazine
The struggle between Britain and France for mastery of the Middle East between 1914 and the late 1940s, is analysed by James Barr in his excellent new book.
It is a complex story of intrigue and skulduggery, which Barr pieces together in a deft, well-written narrative. A journalist by profession, he manages to bring the whole subject alive through a series of well-chosen details and characters --History Today
About the Author
James Barr has worked for the Daily Telegraph, in politics, and in the City, and has travelled widely in the Middle East. He is the author of Setting the Desert on Fire, a history of T.E. Lawrence and the secret war in Arabia. During the research for A Line in the Sand he was a visiting fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford.
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Top customer reviews
Hardly anybody comes out of this with much credit.
Worth a read if you want to supplement your knowledge of this era, skip if you are just looking to read the odd book about the time.
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