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Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi's powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi's powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents, Khalidi paints a chilling scenario of our present situation and yet offers a tangible alternative that can help us find the path to peace rather than Empire. We all know that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sadly, as Khalidi reveals with clarity and surety, America's leaders seem blindly committed to an ahistorical path of conflict, occupation, and colonial rule. Our current policies ignore rather than incorporate the lessons of experience. American troops in Iraq have seen first hand the consequences of U.S. led "democratization" in the region. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems intractable, and U.S. efforts in recent years have only inflamed the situation. The footprints America follows have led us into the same quagmire that swallowed our European forerunners. Peace and prosperity for the region are nowhere in sight. This cogent and highly accessible book provides the historical and cultural perspective so vital to understanding our present situation and to finding and pursuing a more effective and just foreign policy. From the Hardcover edition.


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Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi's powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi's powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents, Khalidi paints a chilling scenario of our present situation and yet offers a tangible alternative that can help us find the path to peace rather than Empire. We all know that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sadly, as Khalidi reveals with clarity and surety, America's leaders seem blindly committed to an ahistorical path of conflict, occupation, and colonial rule. Our current policies ignore rather than incorporate the lessons of experience. American troops in Iraq have seen first hand the consequences of U.S. led "democratization" in the region. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems intractable, and U.S. efforts in recent years have only inflamed the situation. The footprints America follows have led us into the same quagmire that swallowed our European forerunners. Peace and prosperity for the region are nowhere in sight. This cogent and highly accessible book provides the historical and cultural perspective so vital to understanding our present situation and to finding and pursuing a more effective and just foreign policy. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East

  1. 4 out of 5

    David M

    Looking over the reviews of this book, I'm overcome with a desire to bash my head into the wall. An actual quote To consider this a scholarly history would be kind of like calling Bill O'Reilly a journalist Sorry for the passive aggressive "subtweeting" (as the kids say), but seriously. what. the. fuck. Why do Americans feel entitled to be so fucking stupid??? Rashid Khalidi has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the region. He's also extremely critical of the leaders of Arab Nationalism (p Looking over the reviews of this book, I'm overcome with a desire to bash my head into the wall. An actual quote To consider this a scholarly history would be kind of like calling Bill O'Reilly a journalist Sorry for the passive aggressive "subtweeting" (as the kids say), but seriously. what. the. fuck. Why do Americans feel entitled to be so fucking stupid??? Rashid Khalidi has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the region. He's also extremely critical of the leaders of Arab Nationalism (particularly the PLO), but whatever. The fact that he's critical of the US (and, let's be honest, has an Arab name) means he can safely be dismissed as some kind of fringe lunatic. No need to dispute any of his evidence or engage with any of his arguments. ... Anyway, the book itself is excellent. I particularly recommend chapter 3 on the nationalization of Arab oil industries in the seventies. While this was initially seen by some as a triumph of "the third world" against imperial superpowers, Khalidi shows how it proved to benefit repressive autocratic regimes at the expense of the peoples of the region. His subtlety in explaining this phenomenon shows that he is very far from being any sort of propagandist or author of crude polemic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    A good history, if somewhat condensed, of the Middle East from colonial times to the present. The author compares colonial aims to the war aspirations of the Bush administration. This U.S. administration is made to look foolish, hypocritical and extremely short-sighted for its Iraqi invasion. In its’ mission to “sell” the invasion to the American people it pushed two false assumptions – weapons of mass destruction and connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Mr. Khalidi is also convincing in his a A good history, if somewhat condensed, of the Middle East from colonial times to the present. The author compares colonial aims to the war aspirations of the Bush administration. This U.S. administration is made to look foolish, hypocritical and extremely short-sighted for its Iraqi invasion. In its’ mission to “sell” the invasion to the American people it pushed two false assumptions – weapons of mass destruction and connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Mr. Khalidi is also convincing in his assertions that George Bush was trying to “foster democracy” in the Middle East. None of the Bush cronies (Rumsfeld, Cheney and company) were advocates of Middle East democracy before, during and after the invasion. Also, more importantly, there were no post-war plans of any kind. Those involved in the invasion had little understanding of the dynamics of the Middle East; and those that did were removed. This is in contrast to the British colonial rule of the turn of the 19th century when several British administrators spent their careers in the Middle East. As Mr. Khalidi points out, many current day “administrators” have a hard time getting from the airport to the hotel. He also makes a good case of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict where the U.S. constantly favours Israel – even though many more Palestinian civilians have lost their lives during this dreadful period. He is also correct in pointing out that the U.S. was not always been the “bete noir” in the Middle East. This only started out gradually during the 1960’s. Mr. Khalidi is on less safe ground when he stated (on page 63 of my copy) that the “democratic deficit” has absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic religion. Has he not heard of Sharia law? Saudi Arabia is a theocratic and intolerant state, is very wealthy and dominated by a restrictive religious outlook. Ignoring the presence and role of religion in the Middle East is very questionable and a short-coming in this succinct and well-written book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Littrell

    Stringently partisan, but well worth reading Although I disagree with Professor Khalidi on a number of points, I want to make it clear at the outset that this is an excellent book, very well-written and edited, and driven with the sort of restrained passion that makes for a most interesting read. His command of the modern history of the Middle East is admirable and obvious. But Khalidi is not a disinterested observer by any stretch of the imagination. He has an agenda, that of laying the blame for Stringently partisan, but well worth reading Although I disagree with Professor Khalidi on a number of points, I want to make it clear at the outset that this is an excellent book, very well-written and edited, and driven with the sort of restrained passion that makes for a most interesting read. His command of the modern history of the Middle East is admirable and obvious. But Khalidi is not a disinterested observer by any stretch of the imagination. He has an agenda, that of laying the blame for the backwardness of the Middle East at the doorstep of the West while furthering the cause of the Islamic people of the region. He is especially passionate when presenting the case for the Palestinians. His outrage at the historical record of a brutal, exploitive, and hypocritical colonialism (was there any other kind?) by the West, especially Great Britain and France, fairly singes the pages. His disgust at the stupidity, mendacity, and narrow-mindedness of the current Bush administration is palpable. What Khalidi does not do very well is offer the sort of forward-looking, balanced, and dispassionate critique that would lead to a solution to the trouble in the Middle East. He offers a first step toward a solution to the problem in Iraq, namely that of a multilaterally-guided transition to a sovereign Iraq as opposed to the current unilateralism of the United States. Along the way he points out that it was the Western powers who concocted the artificial Iraqi state in the first place, and it was the Cold War US government that supported Saddam Hussein and helped him to brutalize the Iraqi people. However he does not offer specifics on how a recurrence of a Baathist-like dictatorship, or a civil war, or a Shiite theocracy (or all three in succession) can be avoided after the Western powers leave. Furthermore in the seething chapter on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict he offers no solution at all, merely a call for "real" negotiations toward a solution, with the implication that the solution he has in mind is not for public consumption. The very title of his chapter, "The United States and Palestine" hints at his attitude toward Israel and what his solution might be. What Khalidi does not see (and in his way is as blind as the neocons in the White House) is that the United States and Israel and others have their interests as well. It is one thing to cite history and its inequities; it is another thing to realize that regardless of the mistakes made in the past, we have the present to deal with, and that any solution in the Middle East will require that the interests of people alive today be acknowledged and taken into consideration. Just as a military "victory" over Saddam Hussein is no solution to the problems the Iraqi people and the region face, neither is any "shut up and go home" solution going to work for the rest of the world. Certainly the US is not going to allow Israel to be overrun, nor are we, rightly or wrongly, going to sit by quietly while an Iran-like theocracy bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and exporting its Islamic rule, mushrooms out of the debris in Iraq. It is not just realpolitik but realism itself that dictates that the world cannot allow an unbridled Islamic radicalism of the sort that exists in Iran, or even worse, of the sort that had taken over Afghanistan, to expand. Khalidi argues strongly that the US hasn't paid sufficient attention to "the region's political dynamics" or given the "Middle Eastern realities" the seriousness they deserve (p. 165). I think he's right; however the same could be said about his non-awareness of the global realities. For all his learnedness and his sharply candid expression, unfortunately I see in Khalidi's overall tone and approach the partisan politician more than I see the historian or the political scientist. Typical is this from page 172 (and elsewhere): "Iraqis and others in the Middle East have a strong sense of history." (And other people don't?) This vague and superior sound-byte pronouncement from on high reminds me unhappily of what politicians in the US are fond of doing, that is, telling us what "the American people" think. Carrying this historical burden (that Khalidi seems to think the Iraqi people are especially saddled with) to an absurdity (still on page 172), he objects to what he sees as "a symbolic contingent of Mongolian soldiers" as part of the US-led coalition in Iraq. He believes their presence may provoke "vividly the history of earlier occupations of Baghdad, such as that in 1258 when it was sacked by the Mongols"! Yes, that's 1258. Bottom line: partisan, passionate, even prejudicial, but very much worth reading. --Dennis Littrell, author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Khalidi is clearly a bright man, but this book is so relentlessly inflammatory that my brain turned off after a while. To consider this a scholarly history would be kind of like calling Bill O'Reilly a journalist: Yes, he offers facts, but they're assembled in such a way as to suffocate any potential for dissent or rational evaluation. If I took anything of value from this book, it was Khalidi's analysis of colonialism as the primary perceived threat to the Arab populace. He convincingly traces t Khalidi is clearly a bright man, but this book is so relentlessly inflammatory that my brain turned off after a while. To consider this a scholarly history would be kind of like calling Bill O'Reilly a journalist: Yes, he offers facts, but they're assembled in such a way as to suffocate any potential for dissent or rational evaluation. If I took anything of value from this book, it was Khalidi's analysis of colonialism as the primary perceived threat to the Arab populace. He convincingly traces the history of western skepticism in the Middle East to European imperial efforts and draws a cogent comparison to actions taken by the United States.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    An excellent comparison of how America's actions in the early 2000's and before mirrored the actions of the violent European empires of history in the Middle East. Very interesting for those with an interest in the topic without a huge amount of background knowledge. As it is, I didn't even think this book was actually one-sided, which seems to be what some reviewers claim. It seems based on fact and I don't find any problem with calling policy-makers ignorant when they display ignorance of local An excellent comparison of how America's actions in the early 2000's and before mirrored the actions of the violent European empires of history in the Middle East. Very interesting for those with an interest in the topic without a huge amount of background knowledge. As it is, I didn't even think this book was actually one-sided, which seems to be what some reviewers claim. It seems based on fact and I don't find any problem with calling policy-makers ignorant when they display ignorance of local situations in policy-making, for example. On a personal level I find it difficult to read books that coldly state the exploitation and murder of people without any sort of condemnation against the perpetrators, and honestly, the level of condemnation in this isn't even that high comparatively.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison Meakem

    Published at the beginning of the Iraq War, this is great analysis of everything wrong with America's approach to the Middle East. Not only that, the book also makes the astute point that things we typologize as historical "givens" in US foreign policy are hardly that. 15 years later, Khalidi's ominous predictions for the US occupation of Iraq and its policies towards Palestine have, sadly, proven true.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Khalidi uses memory as the driving force behind this book. As well as his biased opinion on the Middle East and America's intervention. This book is oozing with negativity and lacks any optimism or hope. He wrote this during the beginning of the war, which makes it easy to make assumptions of what "could" happen and what "won't" happen. Some of what he wrote never came to pass and some of what he said America would refuse to do, did. It would be fantastic if Khalidi wrote another book or updated Khalidi uses memory as the driving force behind this book. As well as his biased opinion on the Middle East and America's intervention. This book is oozing with negativity and lacks any optimism or hope. He wrote this during the beginning of the war, which makes it easy to make assumptions of what "could" happen and what "won't" happen. Some of what he wrote never came to pass and some of what he said America would refuse to do, did. It would be fantastic if Khalidi wrote another book or updated this book after what he assumed would occur. Some instances he's been right, and others he's been wrong. Has his opinion changed based on what did happen versus what he assumed would be? I like that I read this book and I now have Khalidi's perspective. It's always good to have all views, good and bad. I would have liked if he included his thoughts on 9/11, which he never does. He only mentions it in passing a few times. Like it's not a big deal. He also touches on the humiliation of the Middle East, which I found particularly interesting and suggest you also read the last few chapters of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Friedman discusses what humiliation can do to people in a changing world. Khalidi provides examples of a humiliated Middle East. Khalidi flips/flops in his opinions. He wants the Middle East left to resolve their own issues, but then blames America for not intervening and doing more to help resolve issues in the Middle East, and then tells America to back off again, but maybe intervene just to make sure everyone is being fair. Well, which one is it? I wasn't particularly familiar with the history of the Middle East with all their different colonial roles for France and Britain, which he does provide significant detail. He is always referring to the long memory of the people.. although in one instance he recalled history from the 13th Century, which is amazing, but also limiting because there is probably only a minority of people that actually recall this history. I do understand some of what Khalidi is trying to discuss and I do think it was a valuable book to read, despite my reservations and tendencies to disagree.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Hopkins

    Well...my professor wrote this book, so I can't be too harsh or he'll fail me. :) KIDDING. My professor is awesome and his book is nothing less than great. He presents not only the history and current situation of the region but also uses what he talks about as a way to introduce potential ways to solve it in the last chapter. Though covering "the middle east" is pretty broad, he does a great job taking a wide array of nations into consideration before digging into specific focuses. His opinion Well...my professor wrote this book, so I can't be too harsh or he'll fail me. :) KIDDING. My professor is awesome and his book is nothing less than great. He presents not only the history and current situation of the region but also uses what he talks about as a way to introduce potential ways to solve it in the last chapter. Though covering "the middle east" is pretty broad, he does a great job taking a wide array of nations into consideration before digging into specific focuses. His opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict is the primary reason to read the book, I'd say...as well as his insight into what the US is doing wrong in their occupation of a region which has spent the last two centuries essentially resisting occupation. He claims the Bush administration ignored Middle East experts and acted only to further their own personal investments, especially in terms of oil, which gets a pretty deep look in a chapter which breaks it down by country. All in all, it's incredibly interesting and incredibly well-organized. The biggest critique I've heard is that he's too one-sided in terms of his views on Israel and Palestine, but I've read several texts and can't find one from a truly objective perspective. I've read the pro-Israel books and the pro-Palestine, and this is nowhere near the pro-Palestine extreme even if it leads more in the direction of Palestine. When he does bring his opinion into it, it's pretty much entirely backed up by facts, so you can't say he's just blindly supporting Palestine. Either way, it's a great, informative read. Pick it up if you have even the slightest interest in the region.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Senior

    The Israeli / Palestinian conflict is always in the newspapers and the US always supports Israel. I figured it couldn't be this black and white. After reading "Lawrence in Arabia" I wanted to read more about the Balfour Declaration and the origins of Israel. After some research, I turned to Rashid Khalidi for another point of view and how different it is. Khalidi is a Palestinian-Lebanese American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia Universi The Israeli / Palestinian conflict is always in the newspapers and the US always supports Israel. I figured it couldn't be this black and white. After reading "Lawrence in Arabia" I wanted to read more about the Balfour Declaration and the origins of Israel. After some research, I turned to Rashid Khalidi for another point of view and how different it is. Khalidi is a Palestinian-Lebanese American historian of the Middle East, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, and director of the Middle East Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He also is known for serving as editor of the scholarly journal Journal of Palestine Studies. I read "the Iron Cage," "Brokers of Deceit,' Resurrecting Empire" and "Sowing Crisis." Each was meticulously researched and heavily footnoted. The footnotes led me to other books by other authors. Conclusion: Britain and the US have been screwing the Palestinians since they first set foot in the Middle East and we continue to do so today. The US media shows only one side of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and censors anyone who objects. Consider Rula Jabreal, a Palestinian raised in Jerusalem, a acclaimed journalist and a frequent guest on TV news shows until she challenged Bill Mahr's always mean-spirited criticism of her religion and until she pointed out to Chris Hayes MSNBC's biased coverage. She has since disappeared from TV in favor of less critical spokespeople. Censorship is dangerous. Self-censorship is crazy. Break out of the "Exodus" view of history; read other points of view; draw your own conclusions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    suraj

    My first school book! The first and last 15 pages are a rather uninformative diatribe against the hawks in the neocon war cabinet and the purportedly myopic and ignorant american populace. get past that, and you get a neat and fascinating run through modern middle eastern history. his treatment of the formation of saudi arabi, iran, and iraq through the lens of power and oil is particularly useful. it's shocking how many people have died and how many countries have been destroyed by a resource t My first school book! The first and last 15 pages are a rather uninformative diatribe against the hawks in the neocon war cabinet and the purportedly myopic and ignorant american populace. get past that, and you get a neat and fascinating run through modern middle eastern history. his treatment of the formation of saudi arabi, iran, and iraq through the lens of power and oil is particularly useful. it's shocking how many people have died and how many countries have been destroyed by a resource that will one day run dry. also, the chapter on palestine cuts through some of the common conceptions (some of which i harbored)of what went right and wrong with the peace process. i think he is too apologetic for the complete inability of the palestinians to govern and organize themselves, and completely unsympathetic to the fact that israelis live in a world where most of their neighbors do not recognize their right to exist. however, he is right on that palestinians haven't been given a fair shake in the western media, and america needs to return to its role as "honest broker" in the region (as opposed to crossing its fingers and looking the other way as bush has done). overall, well worth reading. can't wait until we hear khalidi talk about his book later this semester...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Reb

    really useful stuff in understanding modern middle east history--which is why i read it. however the overall structure is quite poorly done, with the result that each chapter would be better as a self-contained essay. it feels like khalidi (whose incisive analysis and research are spot-on) wanted badly to publish "ignorant americans, here's why the iraq war is effed up, because of colonial history." he can't seem to find the tone of popular non-academic writing, and so just hammers on endlessly t really useful stuff in understanding modern middle east history--which is why i read it. however the overall structure is quite poorly done, with the result that each chapter would be better as a self-contained essay. it feels like khalidi (whose incisive analysis and research are spot-on) wanted badly to publish "ignorant americans, here's why the iraq war is effed up, because of colonial history." he can't seem to find the tone of popular non-academic writing, and so just hammers on endlessly through disconnected arguments about BP and oil, colonialist squashings of democracy, and Israel/Palestine. still, if you don't know much about European colonization of the middle east, this is a pretty pithy tour. the strongest point he makes is that the interwar period--between WW1 and 2--was actually the worst in terms of colonial repression of Arab and middle eastern self-determination movements. and it feels important these days to read history books. maybe this one will motivate someone else to write a better one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I didn't read this all the way through, but since I doubt I ever will -- I'm taking it off my "reading" shelf. I enjoyed what I was able to read (about half). It wasn't so much an "ah-ha!" book as a "well of course, I just didn't think of it that way till you said it" book. Does America really want democracy in Iraq? No. That would mean a stronger relationship with Iran, kicking US bases out, and favoring Palestine independence. Those three things are the opposite of our goal in Iraq/the entire I didn't read this all the way through, but since I doubt I ever will -- I'm taking it off my "reading" shelf. I enjoyed what I was able to read (about half). It wasn't so much an "ah-ha!" book as a "well of course, I just didn't think of it that way till you said it" book. Does America really want democracy in Iraq? No. That would mean a stronger relationship with Iran, kicking US bases out, and favoring Palestine independence. Those three things are the opposite of our goal in Iraq/the entire Middle East. As history constantly tells us . . . America really only wants democracy in foreign lands if the people are willing to vote in a way that is most beneficial to us. And not even our closest allies are willing to do that! So why do we think someone on the long list of our enemies ever will? Oh, cause we live on their soil, occupy their land, and keep repeating broken promises. Sounds like a pretty well run Empire to me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Letitia

    3.5 stars for content, -1 for style. I am glad I read this book because I sorely needed much of this general knowledge. One of my best childhood friends, who is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in a Middle Eastern country, recommended this book to me knowing that my mind is a blank slate when it comes to the region. Resurrecting Empire imparted historical context of previous European activity in the region and necessary criticism of the Bush administration's botching of their Iraq occupatio 3.5 stars for content, -1 for style. I am glad I read this book because I sorely needed much of this general knowledge. One of my best childhood friends, who is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in a Middle Eastern country, recommended this book to me knowing that my mind is a blank slate when it comes to the region. Resurrecting Empire imparted historical context of previous European activity in the region and necessary criticism of the Bush administration's botching of their Iraq occupation. Some of the book reads in abruptly condensed, often opinionated statements, but Chapters 3 and 4 shine with fuller examples and actual narrative of the events in the births of both the oil industry and the state of Israel that shed more light and provide the reader more pleasure than do the statements... [Full review coming soon]

  14. 4 out of 5

    Atimia Atimia

    A tad too vituperative to be a concise history of the last 100 years in the Middle East. Khalidi writes a narrative that shouldn't be read in isolation. It flies over themes and events without offering a thorough insight, which can be found in his other work that I've read (Palestinian Identity). It frequently ignores massive parts of Middle Eastern history to get from colonial power abuse to US power abuse, and even though he's perfectly right in calling the US arrogant idiots, this work isn't g A tad too vituperative to be a concise history of the last 100 years in the Middle East. Khalidi writes a narrative that shouldn't be read in isolation. It flies over themes and events without offering a thorough insight, which can be found in his other work that I've read (Palestinian Identity). It frequently ignores massive parts of Middle Eastern history to get from colonial power abuse to US power abuse, and even though he's perfectly right in calling the US arrogant idiots, this work isn't going to help raise an informed resistance. If anything, it's going to raise a resistance of namedropping and event mentioning people who will struggle with those who simply ''don't agree'', because they will be unable to elaborate on their opinion. But it's not like any book on this topic is ever going to change anything, I suppose.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book is fantastic on a number of levels, but that which struck me most is the linear way in which Khalidi explains to readers exactly why the current American occupation of Iraq and interference in Middle Eastern politics is both wrong and doomed to fail. With excellent background and a hard-lined but generally non-judgemental approach to American and Middle Eastern politics, Khalidi takes his reader through the history of democracy (yes, there has been some) and foreign invasions in the Mi This book is fantastic on a number of levels, but that which struck me most is the linear way in which Khalidi explains to readers exactly why the current American occupation of Iraq and interference in Middle Eastern politics is both wrong and doomed to fail. With excellent background and a hard-lined but generally non-judgemental approach to American and Middle Eastern politics, Khalidi takes his reader through the history of democracy (yes, there has been some) and foreign invasions in the Middle East. It's a good read for anyone, but especially those interested in more understanding of why the current American war in Iraq is screwed up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hubert

    Billed as a good introduction to Western - Middle East affairs, much of the book is repetitive in its main points, and at times the various sections and points that the author tries to make doesn't come together (e.g. how the Palestine question relates to the Iraq War). The strongest sections are earlier in the book in its discussion of British and French imperialist history with regards to the region. Still, Khalidi is viewed as a strong thinker and writer, if at times somewhat convoluted. A key Billed as a good introduction to Western - Middle East affairs, much of the book is repetitive in its main points, and at times the various sections and points that the author tries to make doesn't come together (e.g. how the Palestine question relates to the Iraq War). The strongest sections are earlier in the book in its discussion of British and French imperialist history with regards to the region. Still, Khalidi is viewed as a strong thinker and writer, if at times somewhat convoluted. A key question: For whom was this book written?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Harry Steinmetz

    An excellent history and an excellent expression of the perceptions the Arabs have about the actions of the U.S. In the Middle East. Parts are harshly critical of the NeoCons in the Bush II administration, which is well deserved. Although the author doesn't attempt specifics about the years following the Iraq occupation, he lays a picture that you can see have developed in the past few years. A good read, if a bit chewy in spots, but very relevant to understanding the attitudes of the Middle Eas An excellent history and an excellent expression of the perceptions the Arabs have about the actions of the U.S. In the Middle East. Parts are harshly critical of the NeoCons in the Bush II administration, which is well deserved. Although the author doesn't attempt specifics about the years following the Iraq occupation, he lays a picture that you can see have developed in the past few years. A good read, if a bit chewy in spots, but very relevant to understanding the attitudes of the Middle Easterners towards the current U.S. Policies.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    This will actually be a very brief review b/c I think the book can stand entirely on its own merits... First, what's truly great about this book is the fact that anyone could easily comprehend the point(s) he's making (even those who might be unfamiliar with the historical events mentioned)... Khalidi skillfully explores the intricate nature of Western involvement with the Middle East...I found this book to be both illuminating and very interesting... Highly recommended...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nikita Jayswal

    The book was really good. A good read to understand how the west has juggled sides and ruined the history and the current affairs in the Middle East. America's relations with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan before and after gives a good understanding of how one should be careful of what to believe. Also talks about the ignorance about the history of the ME, among the people and government in America which resulted in perilous consequences as a result.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    A quick and well-researched read detailing the adventures and misadventures of European and US involvement in the Middle East. Khalidi focuses primarily on the growing involvement of the US in that region and shows that the US has overlooked the politics, culture, and history of the region in its bumbling efforts at transformation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Rashid Khalidi, the director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia, discusses the United State's quagmire today in the Middle East. What I liked is that he puts today's situation in a historical context, giving a lot of detail of past interventions of Western powers in the Middle East. A good, pretty quick read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Don't be put off by the title. This book is not a politically slanted diatribe. I read this for a history class a few years ago and found it to be incredibly informing and enlightening. This book does a great job covering how "the west" has historically interacted with the middle east and how it specifically relates to the United States' problems in this new millennium.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ami

    I read this for Rashid Khalidi's class and while I don't usually enjoy much of my assigned reading, I really liked this book. Well written and easy to follow, even for people who don't know a lot of the history.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A bold, sometimes brash, reminder of Western failures in the Middle East. Essentially an argument against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The author reserves special disdain for neoconservative policy and those who formulated it (e.g. Rumsfeld).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    It's important to know the history of this conflict, to truly realize how fucked up this whole situation is. US out of iraq!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jarrod

    One of those books you should read, but not as interesting as you'd hope. I'm happy to say I read the book before it became a talking point by the McCain campaign.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amyem

    http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/1... http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/1...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amrullah Zunzunia

    If you plan to read only one book on Middle East, let it be this one... The author covers a lot about middle east in 175 pages, in most lucid possible language Highly recommended

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Houlihan

    I must point out that while it was interesting, I disagree widely.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a great historical introduction to Western penetration into the Middle East.

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