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Teach Yourself The Middle East Since 1945 New Edition (TYH) Paperback – 30 Jun 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Teach Yourself; New Ed edition (30 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340927224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340927229
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.3 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"this book provides essential knowledge for those interested by foreign affairs." (The History Channel)

Book Description

This new edition of Teach Yourself The Middle East Since 1945 will bring one of the most popular titles in the Teach Yourself series fully up-to-date

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book feels lazy and half-hearted in its attempt to explain the recent history of the Middle East. There are two main faults at work here.

Firstly, the work is shoddily referenced. Details of events, comments on personalities and anecdotes are often presented with no references cited. Where is the author drawing his information from? How are we to draw our own conclusions on the validity of what is written without knowing how many sources were consulted are how biased they were? Where sources do appear, they are often lazy and obvious; often single website reference and unreliable at best. Couple this with the fact that many events are detailed without dates (how on earth can we build up a good picture of the past without knowing the chronological sequence!?) and you are left with the feeling that the book has little serious value as a guide to the region.

Secondly, the author is prone to the occassional use of unhelpfully poetic description. For example, when describing Syria's air defeat against Israeli jets in 1967 (a key event in Syria's decision to attempt to retake the Golan Heights in 1973) the author's only conclusion is:

"The Arab male is not well equipped, either by temperament or upbringing, to accept humiliation"

This is hardly the analysis of events I had hoped for. What was the reaction in Syria? Did the media put pressure on the government? What was the international reaction to the engagement? How long did the engagement take? I don't know the answers. But it seems neither does our author and he would rather be pointlessly witty than investigate sources for us.

The result is a book that reads like an long A-Level history essay with all the faults that entails. As a starting point its OK (hence it gets 2 stars rather than 1) but if you are serious to understand what has happened in the Middle East be prepared to buy additional books to answer your questions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my daughter to help with revision for her history A level.
Very informative and an excellent reference guide to the Middle East.
Prompt delivery an good value for money
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Format: Paperback
You only have to look at this book's coverage of recent Iranian history to realise how partial and unreliable its account of the recent history of the Middle East actually is. There is only one glancing reference to Mohammad Mosaddegh, the only democratically elected prime minister of Iran (from 1951-53), which suggests he briefly undermined the power of the Shah.

In other words, this book completely ignores the Iranian coup d'etat of 1953 through which Britain and America interfered powerfully in Iranian politics, using disgraceful tactics to overthrow Mosaddegh and install the Shah in order to stop Mosaddegh from nationalising Iran's oil industry.

The Shah's regime became so brutal and unpopular that the Iranian Revolution, which installed today's theocracy, was the result. The American and British support for the coup (what their respective secret services called Operation Boot and the TPAJAX Project) and their subsequent continuing support for the Shah is widely accepted as contributing significantly to anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.

That a book should overlook this critical event and arrogantly subtitle itself "teach yourself" is something of an insult to the reader, and nothing written here should be taken as a reliable or honest account of events.
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Format: Paperback
It's the kind of book you'd expect young M16 agents to have on their bedside table.

Quick and easy to read, Ross' the Middle East Since 1945 is detailed throughout but does not get wrapped around the axels of any one issue - just a punchy and well written page or two on the main issues and protagonists post the second war. It would read most like an intelligence briefing were it not for the colour that this author adds to the writing in an unbiased and mature fashion. 5 out of 5.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History is Fiction by Definition 17 Dec. 2012
By Pavel Somov, Ph.D., psychologist, author of "Lotus Effect" and "Present Perfect" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mind is opinions. Opinions are bias. Subjectivity is epistemologically inevitable. Thus, all history is interpretive fiction. Is the author biased? Of course, he is. Is the reviewer biased? Of course, he/she is. All I can say is that I immensely enjoyed reading "The Middle East Since 1945" by Ross. What that means... about me... to you... about you... is... too subject to interpretation. The conflict in the Middle/Near East is - to my mind - a metaphor of our painfully slow approximation of the Middle Way in politics and geopolitcs (my Buddhist bias leaks out). What's the status report? We are nowhere near the destination. I recommend this book: it's full of pain (if you care to feel about what you are reading). It's full of facts (if there is such a thing). It's pithy and articulate. It wsstes no time.

Be well,
Pavel Somov, PhD, author of Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, and History of the Next Big Bang: an Enso of Nothinglessness.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's succinct. It's well written. It's informative. 8 Jan. 2007
By William M. Digby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's the kind of book you'd expect young M16 agents to have on their bedside table.

Quick and easy to read, Ross' the Middle East Since 1945 is detailed throughout but does not get wrapped around the axels of any one issue - just a punchy and well written page or two on the main issues and protagonists post the second war. It would read most like an intelligence briefing were it not for the colour that this author adds to the writing in an unbiased and mature fashion. 5 out of 5.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good start to your knowledge 12 Jun. 2005
By Alexmluc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm not saying that this book should be one's only basis of knowledge of the recent history of the middle east, but I did find it to be a good way to start learning about a part of the world that is very important, yet is never covered in school classes. I don't think that there is any one book out there that covers the whole history of the region and shows no bias, but I do believe that this book does a good job of laying out the history of the middle east and I know that I learned so much from reading it.
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a parody 2 Mar. 2005
By Jill Malter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is useful in teaching yourself some Middle East history. You see, some folks claim that some books about the Middle East merely parrot a bunch of anti-Zionist myths and taunts. This is one of the books that proves them right.

Ross says that by 1945, Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini's reputation was "tarnished" because he moved to Germany in World War Two and entered into "negotiations" with the Nazis. Well, that surely is one way to put it!

The author continues by saying that more fervent Zionists were "irked" by Britain "limiting" further Jewish immigration to the Levant with the 1939 White Paper. That also is one way of putting it. I think that some of the more fervent Tutsis were also irked by the fact that 800,000 of them were slaughtered by Hutus. Now I know what "irked" means, I guess.

We also hear of secret meetings between Jordanian King Abdullah and Golda Meir in 1948. Of course, their meeting is totally misrepresented by the author.

What do you suppose Ross says about the assassination of Count Bernadotte? He says that the UN mediator was killed because he "seemed too pro-Arab." This ignores the question of why opposition to human rights of life, liberty, and property might be synonymous with being "pro-Arab." I also think the author ought to have had the nerve to say what Bernadotte did and let us readers judge him ourselves.

What about the six-day war? Our intrepid author blames the Jews, of course. I wonder why he praises the Arab aggressors and blames the Israeli defenders. The benefit of doing this is not clear to me. Such misrepresentations are not going to lead to peace or harmony.

Ross says that Egypt's Nasser "felt obliged" to re-occupy Sharm al-Sheikh. Now Nasser did say at the time that Egypt was ready for war. And in no uncertain terms! But the author wants to blame Israel, so he explains away Nasser's statement by saying "It was not what he meant at all." If I could misrepresent facts the way Ross does, I think I could prove anything.

Now we get to the topic of Arab terrorism. What do we get to read about one of the worst human beings of the twentieth century, Arafat? Do we read about his vicious slaughters of innocent civilians? His constant lies and taunts? Or even his misuse of funds?

What we read is that Arafat overcame his drawbacks "with an exceptional vitality that combined passion, determination, charm, and bravery."

That takes the cake. Obviously, such words, true or false, could be used to describe any thug or mass murderer. But what does it say about the writer? Only a person wholly committed to opposing human rights could dream of associating the words Arafat and charm in such a manner.

How about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which was in response to terrorist attacks from there? And which did drive Arafat's gang out of Lebanon? Ross says it is the other way around. He talks about Israel's incursions into Lebanon as if Arafat belonged there. And then he says "Arafat refused to play ball. Despite repeated incursions into Lebanon, the PLO did not retaliate." I think a reader who wants to learn about the Middle East might want to check some of the other books I have reviewed about the topic to decide if this is a good description of events.

The author does not like Jewish settlements in the West Bank. He calls them an "obvious affront" to the Arabs. And he implies that the settlements are simply a theft of Arab land.

The only problem with all this is that the land is disputed. Jews and Arabs have equal rights to it. Jews may well feel that the presence of Arabs in the West Bank is an "obvious affront." One day, some other group of people (maybe one with a truly immense army) may feel that the presence of Arabs is an obvious affront. Is the author trying to say that this will justify the ethnic cleansing of Arabs? Or is he trying to say that the Arabs are the only real people in the world, and that the Arabs are justified in stealing whatever they want whenever they want?

Ross mentions Arab riots over the opening of a door to a tunnel in the Old City of Jerusalem. The tunnel was already open near the Western Wall. This door was at the other end of the tunnel. But Ross tries to imply that this somehow threatened the al-Aqsa mosque. Hey, maybe it threatened the Kaaba and the Kremlin as well. Stories like these are not facts. They are so obviously untrue that they count as taunts.

In 2000, we read that Ariel Sharon killed the peace process by visiting the Temple Mount. This leaves unasked the question of why one more visit to Judaism's holiest site, in the middle of the capital of Israel, ought to provoke a murderous Arab riot. Oh, but that wasn't the only provocation. In addition, we are told that a 12-year old Arab boy was "shot several times by Israeli soldiers." But it is extremely unlikely that Israelis actually shot this boy. In fact, the incident may well have been entirely staged. In any case, the author owed it to us to tell us this, as well as to tell us about the saturation of the international information supply with anti-Israeli propaganda. We're also entitled to know that much of the reporting of events from Israel is indeed staged.

Obviously, I do not recommend this horrible book.
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