A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East Paperback – Sep 1 2001
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"Extraordinarily ambitious, provocative and vividly written...Fromkin unfolds a gripping tale of diplomatic double-dealing, military incompetence and political upheaval."—Reid Beddow, Washington Post Book World
"Ambitious and splendid...An epic tale of ruin and disillusion...of great men, their large deeds and even larger follies."—Fouad Ajami, The Wall Street Journal
"[It] achieves an ideal of historical writing: its absorbing narrative not only recounts past events but offers a useful way to think about them....The book demands close attention and repays it. Much of the information here was not available until recent decades, and almost every page brings us news about a past that troubles the present."—Naomi Bliven, The New Yorker
"One of the first books to take an effective panoramic view of what was happening, not only in Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, and the Arab regions of Asia but also in Afghanistan and central Asia....Readers will come away from A Peace to End All Peace not only enlightened but challenged—challenged in a way that is brought home by the irony of the title."—The New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
What stands out are the massive implications and resultant upheavals borne out of the sometimes trivial decision making processes and relatively naïve decision-makers. The childish internal scuffling and petty politics in the top echelons of the British Government was an eye-opener.
Though he remains highly complimentary of Winston Churchill, Fromkin also shatters some of the myths of Winston Churchill's so-called "prescience". The author also deals in needless detail about al-Faruqi, but does not really address his authenticity. I also found his comments on Kemal Ataturk to be ungrudgingly positive.
In addition, I was unable to get a feel of the economic and social backdrop of the time. Despite sometimes missing the forest because of such a detailed view of the trees, I recommend the book.
More than one scholar has suggested that this work from David Fromkin is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the roots of the politics and current animosities of the Middle East. I'm no scholar, but I can't imagine another source that could provide a better accounts of the events and personalities from 90 years ago that have shaped (and often misshaped) the most problematic region of the world. The movie "Lawrence of Arabia" may have been cinema at it's best. But it was also history at it's most trivial. This is the real history, laced with context and the full implications of each development.
Fromkin relates in fascinating detail the various acts of hubris, misdirection, treachery, imperialism, nation building, cowardice and more that shaped the arbitrary borders and ruling classes of today's Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Israel. From the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire to the early leaders of Zionism, each player in this vast geopolitical game comes under the author's critical eye. And Fromkin is impartial with both his praise and his criticism. While his portrait of Winston Churchill tosses body blow or two to Sir Winston's image, it also establishes a firm foundation for those that regard Churchill as one of the most dominate and influential leaders of the twentieth century.
Knowledge of the mistakes in the past is no guarantee that future mistakes will not occur, but it does help to avoid a repeat of past errors. This book should be required reading for any American, particularly our current leadership!
On the other hand, as the title implies Fromkin tells us that the problem today in the Middle East is based in the West nearly a hundred years ago. He details very well the inept and often corrupt dealings of the colonial powers but he stops there. The problems with the clan fighting etc did not start in the early 20th century nor are they solely to blame by the "Peace to End All Peace".
The book is well researched and written better. I recommend it to anyone interested in Middle Easter Affairs especially those who tend to agree with the assumption indicated in the title.
Particularly interesting is the section on Iraq, where some note the difficulties of forcing together a country of Shiis, Sunnis and Kurds, and to be ruled by a Christian, hasn't anyone in a decision making position today read their history?! I recommend this book to leaders dealing today with the Middle East.
Also very impressive is the strength of Mustapha Kemal and the Turks in saving their country from total occupation, an endless array of fights going on for many years, while at the same time fighting internally with the small groups loyal to the corrupt, west-loving sultan. His accomplishment, when viewed within the wider context of how hopeless their situation seemed at the outset, their success in creating a new country out of the remains of a partitioned, ruined, exhausted empire is incredibly impressive, he is a rare leader in world history who has accomplished true greatness, and the Turks are right in revering him so.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
An excellent, very readable, well researched book. I ahve read a number ob books on this period and this book confirms and expands on much of what I read. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Steve W Wheaton
Perfect book! It have a lot of details, and unlike most books about the Middle East, the author don't try to give his opinion and the research he did is simply amazing.Published 16 months ago by Pascal Robert
The book is detailed and portrays an excellent picture of the life and times in England 1900 though the last Mallory expedition to Everest .Informative and interesting.Published on Jan. 8 2013 by Alec Galloway
The previous reviewer is, alas, the one spouting the nonesense! Israel only exists because of the decisions of Lloyd George and Churchill in 1918-1921: the creation of Israel in... Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Christopher Catherwood
This book perpetuates the myth that the present mess in the the Middle East was caused by a bunch of confused, incompetent European statemen who, after World War I, allowed those... Read morePublished on June 11 2004
This book is very entertaining to read, spanning a period of eight crucial years for the Middle East but mainly focused on the tug-of-war between the various factions inside the... Read morePublished on April 20 2004 by Walter
Fromkin's work draws from a wide variety of sources, approaching the issues from different perspectives. Read morePublished on April 11 2004 by Cem Karakas