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Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations, Part Two: 1953-1984

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The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic novel history of US–Middle East relations begins in the 1950s with the Eisenhower Doctrine and ends with the Lebanese War of 1982. A perceptive and authoritative account of this turbulent historical period, Best of Enemies provides an overview of the Six-Day War between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic novel history of US–Middle East relations begins in the 1950s with the Eisenhower Doctrine and ends with the Lebanese War of 1982. A perceptive and authoritative account of this turbulent historical period, Best of Enemies provides an overview of the Six-Day War between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria; the Iranian Revolution of 1979; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and other Middle Eastern conflicts involving the United States. A beautifully drawn account of the time period, Best of Enemies is a milestone of graphic novel reportage and of great relevance to the current political situation in the Middle East.


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The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic novel history of US–Middle East relations begins in the 1950s with the Eisenhower Doctrine and ends with the Lebanese War of 1982. A perceptive and authoritative account of this turbulent historical period, Best of Enemies provides an overview of the Six-Day War between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic novel history of US–Middle East relations begins in the 1950s with the Eisenhower Doctrine and ends with the Lebanese War of 1982. A perceptive and authoritative account of this turbulent historical period, Best of Enemies provides an overview of the Six-Day War between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria; the Iranian Revolution of 1979; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and other Middle Eastern conflicts involving the United States. A beautifully drawn account of the time period, Best of Enemies is a milestone of graphic novel reportage and of great relevance to the current political situation in the Middle East.

30 review for Best of Enemies: A History of US and Middle East Relations, Part Two: 1953-1984

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sardonyx

    I found this one more confusing to follow, but it was also quite good! I am utterly amazed at the artwork and how he finds ways to describe the caption with pictures that are riddled with symbolism. I think I might need to re-read this with some maps beside me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Altman

    Not quite as good as the first volume because it has more to tackle and it's not quite as clear. It jumps from conflict to conflict and some of the artwork is repetitive, but it really does hone in on the fact that so much of how the Middle East is set up today is because of now-defunct Cold War alliances that were about checking Marxist expansion over everything else. Not quite as good as the first volume because it has more to tackle and it's not quite as clear. It jumps from conflict to conflict and some of the artwork is repetitive, but it really does hone in on the fact that so much of how the Middle East is set up today is because of now-defunct Cold War alliances that were about checking Marxist expansion over everything else.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Özge

    As rest of the comments found it a lot more confusing, jumping from date to date and country to country. It was not an enjoyable reading it was really hard to follow.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin Britton

    The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s Best of Enemies advances their graphic novel history of US-Middle East relations from 1953 to 1984, from the Eisenhower Doctrine to the Lebanese War. As you would probably expect, this volume covers a particularly turbulent time in a now notoriously troubled international relationship. Best of Enemies Vol. 2 is necessarily a concise history rather than a full account of the numerous and highly complex facets of US-Middle East relations in the The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s Best of Enemies advances their graphic novel history of US-Middle East relations from 1953 to 1984, from the Eisenhower Doctrine to the Lebanese War. As you would probably expect, this volume covers a particularly turbulent time in a now notoriously troubled international relationship. Best of Enemies Vol. 2 is necessarily a concise history rather than a full account of the numerous and highly complex facets of US-Middle East relations in the period 1953 to 1984, but Jean-Pierre Filiu packs in all the major engagements (the Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, etc.) as well as many of the lesser known and, at first glance anyway, less important skirmishes. All of the famous (and infamous) faces pop up too, from Moshe Dayan to Ronald Reagan, Ayatollah Khomeini to Kermit Roosevelt, King Saud to Henry Kissinger. The book follows a clear, chronological structure so that the reader can see how events build on one another and how the different personalities involved have impacts far beyond their own geographical sphere and time of personal prominence. However, despite covering a much shorter period (some 31 years, compared to the 170 years covered in the first volume), Best of Enemies Vol. 2 does seem to offer far more of a whistle-stop tour through the relevant Middle East conflicts than the preceding volume. Jean-Pierre Filiu has once again been able to include an admirable amount of information (to say nothing of commendable accuracy and lack of bias) so it’s hard to pinpoint why this volume seems to whizz from event to event, stalemate to grudging compromise, leaving the reader to hunt around in other sources for more detail. Maybe because there is far more source material, as well as all the associated opinions, available for this more recent period, maybe because the armed conflicts and international disputes started coming far more thick and fast from 1953 onwards. Either way, this volume certainly serves to highlight key issues and points of controversy in US-Middle East relations up to 1984 and so helps to increase interest in this globally relevant topic. David B.’s black and white illustrations capture marvellously the tension, danger and all too frequent absurdity of the events that Jean-Pierre Filiu writes about. Although there’s always something slightly “off” and menacing about them, key players like Reagan, Khomeini and co are instantly recognisable. He twists those key characters into peculiar positions to reflect how their actions twist the region, while the hubris and stereotypical traits of the famous faces are included in his portrayal of even their most benign contributions to US-Middle East relations. This then is a great instalment in Filiu and B.’s hugely ambitious graphic history of US-Middle East misunderstanding, mistrust, cooperation and engagement. They cover all of the significant events that took place between 1953 and 1984 in prominent countries like Egypt, Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan – events that we are still feeling the impact of today. It’s a clever, informative and wonderfully drawn book that provides an excellent introduction to complex regional issues and their massive (often disastrous) international impact. It will be interesting to see where volume three takes us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

    Part Two: 1953-1984 was illustrated very well(black ink drawings)-almost along the same style as Marjane Setrapi's Perseopis. However, in all honesty, I found myself falling asleep at times while reading this book, simply because, sadly, all the Middle East does is fight. One war meshed into another after another. Also, there was one major historical landmark that was not mentioned: The Assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October the 6th, 1981. Another minor mistake: the statement Part Two: 1953-1984 was illustrated very well(black ink drawings)-almost along the same style as Marjane Setrapi's Perseopis. However, in all honesty, I found myself falling asleep at times while reading this book, simply because, sadly, all the Middle East does is fight. One war meshed into another after another. Also, there was one major historical landmark that was not mentioned: The Assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October the 6th, 1981. Another minor mistake: the statement that Tehran announced the release of the Iranian hostages ten minutes after Reagan's nomination was announced, was INCORRECT: (I found this crossed out and rewritten in my copy of the book, btw). The correct fact should have been: "Tehran announced their release ten minutes after Reagan's inauguration." So although superbly illustrated, the facts should be straightened out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ty

    Slightly easier to follow than the first volume, probably because they've abandoned the bizarre Epic of Gilgamesh remix motif, and they're focusing on three decades instead of trying to explain two hundred years of complex regional history in a hundred pages. Still feels pretty convoluted at times. David B's art is excellent as always. Slightly easier to follow than the first volume, probably because they've abandoned the bizarre Epic of Gilgamesh remix motif, and they're focusing on three decades instead of trying to explain two hundred years of complex regional history in a hundred pages. Still feels pretty convoluted at times. David B's art is excellent as always.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    This was a great read. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the dark history between the middle east and the west. In contrast to volume 1, volume 2 is more convoluted. But it can be hard to tell whether that's because of the narrative of the graphic novel or just the confusion of the history itself. This was a great read. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the dark history between the middle east and the west. In contrast to volume 1, volume 2 is more convoluted. But it can be hard to tell whether that's because of the narrative of the graphic novel or just the confusion of the history itself.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Salem

    بسيط و سلس و جميل

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jay Westermann

    Just finished. Really good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J

    Just an incredible series and David B's art is always mega eye candy Just an incredible series and David B's art is always mega eye candy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Francis

    Not as convincing at the first one. The story is just : "and this happened, then this happened, then this happened." David B's art and imagination is still on point though. Not as convincing at the first one. The story is just : "and this happened, then this happened, then this happened." David B's art and imagination is still on point though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    George K. Ilsley

    A powerful overview of developments in the Middle East. I was struck by faint echos of events from my lifetime -- apparently as a self-absorbed teenager the Middle East seemed far away and not that important. Together with the first book, these volumes offer a lot of history, with dada-inspired graphics.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emilia P

    Middle Eastern politics remain complicated! America makes some dumb and dangerous decisions! Nothing to see here, move along! Same good stuff and frustratingly labrythine stuff as Vol. 1. What lies ahead?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    A depressing read that highlights that nothing has changed in that region.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grzegorz

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abdelrhman hammad

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pril Wood

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aljoharah Alrasheed

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  20. 4 out of 5

    Merdan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marta

  22. 4 out of 5

    Luigi

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  24. 5 out of 5

    Martina Bila

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gün Kirmizioglu

  27. 4 out of 5

    Krzysztof

  28. 4 out of 5

    Philippe Fabre

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elika Nadem

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trey Gordner

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