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The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Hardcover – Aug 10 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bond Street Books; First Edition edition (Aug. 10 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385662580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385662581
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.3 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #303,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for The Thames and London 1900:
"A magnificent, multi-layered achievement, a 'must-read' for all lovers of London."
— Liza Picard, author of Elizabeth's London

"A work of magisterial scholarship."
Sunday Times (UK)

About the Author

JONATHAN SCHNEER, a specialist in modern British history, is a professor at Georgia Tech's School of History, Technology, and Society. He is the author of five additional books, as well as numerous articles and reviews. A fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies in 1985-86, he has also held research fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK, as well as at the Erich Remarque Center of New York University. He was a founding editor of Radical History Review and is a member of the editorial board of 20th Century British History and the London Journal.

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Amazon.com: 27 reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
A Fair & Balanced Balfour (Declaration) Nov. 21 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, recommended by a local Jewish book club, surprised me in the fair & balanced nature of the research and scholarship involved in this tricky subject; yet, Schneer, a British labour historian employed copious first-hand sources to unravel the bewildering labyrinth that was British Middle East policy during the First World War. He was not defending Zionism, nor British imperialism nor the Arab revolt of the time; rather, he focused on the myriad ways diplomacy, imperialism, nationalism and Zionism intersected through the mechanisms of the "cast of thousands" who people this captivating history. The Balfour Declaration itself, a short denouement of political hubris on the part of the British Foreign Office to win over the world's dispersed Jews to their side in this "war to end all wars," is anti-climactic when measured against the promises they handed out like candy to the Arabs who fought for them against the Turks, their French & Russian allies and any other group who could assist in the war effort. Nothing describes the last faltering years if the storied British world Empire better than this duplicitous and often arrogant display of the "white man's burden" run amok in its imperial nation-building endeavor. Schneer clearly posits the fact that the British had no real intentions to meet her postwar obligations as the Paris Peace talks revealed in 1919. Taking us through this confusing yet essential journey of understanding some of the foundations of Arab-Israeli discontent in a readable manner, he had made this topic available to many who may have found earlier works too broad, to biased or too laden with footnotes to pursue. As a lecturer of Middle East history for the past 35 years, I would strongly endorse this book's inclusion in everyone's course syllabus and private library.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Magnificent Overture Dec 22 2010
By AurensHydaspes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A Magnificent Overture for the Present Conflict in the Middle East.

Dr. Jonathan Schneer has written a succinctly meticulous book on the origins of Zionism and the generated Arab mistrust of the West because of their betrayal by the British. That is the main theme of the book, on how the British put out to support two radically opposite groups to maintain their own hegemony in the Middle East. Under the augury of some esoteric and omnipotent international Jewry who the British thought had some control over the politics of The Great War, Effective Zionism was born under the handling of the charismatic (and perhaps duplicitous) Chaim Weizmann with the ultimate goal, of a settlement colony of Jewish people in Palestine under the rue of the British mandate. (Schneer does write very effectively and pedagogically on how there was a good amount internal almost sectarian conflict within the British Jewish community over the concept of Zionism...there was a good [perhaps virulent] anti-Zionist sector of the Jewish community]. The other side had the Arabs under Sayyid Hussein bin Ali and (his most prominent son) King Faisal who under the false pretense of the British revolted against Ottoman empire and were promised a Arab Kingdom that included the "Holy Land", or so they thought.

Ultimately, the book is written from British perspective, but does a superb job of having balanced point of view of the Arabs and the Zionists. One controversy that can be argued form the book is weather the British were actively being deceptive and perfidious with the Arabs, who did not found out about the Balfour Declaration until it was almost to late or was it just a whetting out the "Divide and Conquer" tactic that best fit the crumbling Empire. I think Scnheer makes it case for the latter, but not without a good exposition of the possible perfidious inclination of the Home Office, but let the reader make his own decision. (While the Zionist employed their suave persuasion skills in the conversations/dinners in England, the Arabs were putting their lives on the line in hope of a Kingdom, i.e. the almost suicidal track to Aqaba under the ambitious genius T.E. Lawrence aka "El Aurens", and revolt against a much better organized and efficacious Turkish military).

Schneer writing style is almost too good to be true...I read the book within a week. The book is intended for a non-academic audience and it does an excellent job in its narrative style, but Schneer does such a good job at organizing his well-analyzed research [the book is divided very effectively into chapters that deal with the Arabs, the Zionist, The British Home Office, etc.] that I think the book can be used for an academic audience as well. In fact, it would do well for an introductory book on the background & context of the history of the modern Middle East.

I personally read this book to help me prepare for reading Lawrence's romantic Seven Pillars Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph and I think it has done just that...also it most probably has help me prepare for reading Fomkin's A Peace to End All Peace A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East.

Overall: MUST READ!
38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
The Price of Deception Sept. 18 2010
By animal lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been curious about the terrible injustices in the Middle East. How, I wondered, could such fear, resentment, hatred start and increase over so many years? This book introduces the reader to Balfour, Sykes, Picot, Hussein, the young Turks and the first Zionists. All of these characters, well described by the author with quotes from their letters and speeches, practice some form of deception. The peoples of the Middle East today, especially, but not only in Palestine and Israel, pay for the lies and tricks practiced by all these players. Ironically the backdrop of this story is WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. It all worked together to create destruction, distrust and death.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating, but bogged down in detail July 3 2012
By ESM517 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating history of a key milestone in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Unfortunately, the fascinating and thorough history gets bogged down in too many details, a bit of melodrama (rather than the steady voice of an historian) and comments from today's view that do not reflect the thinking of the times. Overall, I did enjoy the book and the topic, but the three stars, rather than five, reflect my important caveats. An example of incorrect hindsight can be found on page 168, where the author is incredulous that people at the time believed Sykes that there was a strong Jewish world power behind WWI. Well, as he later points out, people of power did believe that for a number of reasons and that was "of the times". How can you write a history book of a specific time by placing your own modern opinions and hindsight over the events? Historical events must be viewed and analyzed in their own context. What I did enjoy, though, the most was the overview at the beginning of all the people involved and Schneer does a good job of painting pictures of all these key figures.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Deception to an never ending fault Oct. 4 2010
By Lawrence Albert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is as well balanced an account of a conflict which seems to have no end.When an Empire is to be desolved,when a war is to be won,when allies are being sought,all manner of promises are made,all manner of deceptions are applied,all in the name of cause and in the name of what is right.The parties to this day follow these practices and remain certain that their cause is the only right one. This book clearly shows the original players and how they hoped to achieve their various righteous objectives,and,in each case, without carefull thought of the consequences to the other parties involved.This book should be read by the present day remaining players in the conflict.It should be considered with the same sense of sensitivity the author has successfully employed.


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