Middle East - History - 20th Century
The Places in Between
The Places in Between
Paperback      ISBN: 0156031566

In January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers' floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan's first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.

Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map's countless places in between.
Palestine
Palestine
Paperback      ISBN: 156097432x

Prior to Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995 Joe Sacco's breakthrough novel of graphic journalism the acclaimed author was best known for Palestine, a two-volume graphic novel that won an American Book Award in 1996. Fantagraphics Books is pleased to present the first single-volume collection of this landmark of journalism and the art form of comics. Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s (where he conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Jews), Palestine was the first major comics work of political and historical nonfiction by Sacco, whose name has since become synonymous with this graphic form of New Journalism. Like Safe Area Gorazde, Palestine has been favorably compared to Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus for its ability to brilliantly navigate such socially and politically sensitive subject matter within the confines of the comic book medium. Sacco has often been called the first comic book journalist, and he is certainly the best. This edition of Palestine also features an introduction from renowned author, critic, and historian Edward Said (Peace and Its Discontents and The Question of Palestine), one of the world's most respected authorities on the Middle Eastern conflict."

Black Flags: The Rise of Isis
Black Flags
The Rise of Isis
Hardcover      ISBN: 0385538219
WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

"A Best Book of 2015"--The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews

In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.

When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi's hideout in 2006.
His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi's dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today's most dangerous extremist threat.
The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923
The Ottoman Endgame
War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594205329
An astonishing retelling of twentieth-century history from the Ottoman perspective, delivering profound new insights into World War I and the contemporary Middle East

Between 1911 and 1922, a series of wars would engulf the Ottoman Empire and its successor states, in which the central conflict, of course, is World War I--a story we think we know well. As Sean McMeekin shows us in this revelatory new history of what he calls the "wars of the Ottoman succession," we know far less than we think. The Ottoman Endgame brings to light the entire strategic narrative that led to an unstable new order in postwar Middle East--much of which is still felt today.

The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East draws from McMeekin's years of groundbreaking research in newly opened Ottoman and Russian archives. With great storytelling flair, McMeekin makes new the epic stories we know from the Ottoman front, from Gallipoli to the exploits of Lawrence in Arabia, and introduces a vast range of new stories to Western readers. His accounts of the lead-up to World War I and the Ottoman Empire's central role in the war itself offers an entirely new and deeper vision of the conflict. Harnessing not only Ottoman and Russian but also British, German, French, American, and Austro-Hungarian sources, the result is a truly pioneering work of scholarship that gives full justice to a multitiered war involving many belligerents.

McMeekin also brilliantly reconceives our inherited Anglo-French understanding of the war's outcome and the collapse of the empire that followed. The book chronicles the emergence of modern Turkey and the carve-up of the rest of the Ottoman Empire as it has never been told before, offering a new perspective on such issues as the ethno-religious bloodletting and forced population transfers which attended the breakup of empire, the Balfour Declaration, the toppling of the caliphate, and the partition of Iraq and Syria--bringing the contemporary consequences into clear focus.

Every so often, a work of history completely reshapes our understanding of a subject of enormous historical and contemporary importance. The Ottoman Endgame is such a book, an instantly definitive and thrilling example of narrative history as high art.
The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
The Balfour Declaration
The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Paperback      ISBN: 0812976037

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award

Issued in London in 1917, the Balfour Declaration was one of the key documents of the twentieth century. It committed Britain to supporting the establishment in Palestine of "a National Home for the Jewish people," and its reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Now the entire fascinating story of the document is revealed in this impressive work of modern history.

With new material retrieved from historical archives, Jonathan Schneer recounts in dramatic detail the public and private fight for a small strip of land in the Middle East, a battle that started when the Ottoman Empire took Germany's side in World War I. The key players in this conflict are rendered in nuanced and detailed relief: Sharif Hussein, the Arab leader who secretly sought British support; Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist folks-mensch who charmed British high society; T. E. Lawrence, the legendary British officer who "set the desert on fire" for the Arabs; and the other generals and prime ministers, soldiers and negotiators, who shed blood and cut deals to grab or give away the precious land.

A book crucial to understanding the Middle East as it is today, The Balfour Declaration is a riveting volume about the ancient faiths and timeless treacheries that continue to drive global events.
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
Lawrence in Arabia
War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
Hardcover      ISBN: 038553292x

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
New York Times - Christian Science Monitor - NPR - Seattle Times - St. Louis Dispatch

National Book Critics Circle Finalist -- American Library Association Notable Book

A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in 20th century history - the Arab Revolt and the secret "great game" to control the Middle East

The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, "a sideshow of a sideshow." Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theater. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power.

Curt Pr fer was an effete academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo, whose clandestine role was to foment Islamic jihad against British rule. Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Syria. William Yale was the fallen scion of the American aristocracy, who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was the most romantic figure of World War One, battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people.

The intertwined paths of these four men - the schemes they put in place, the battles they fought, the betrayals they endured and committed - mirror the grandeur, intrigue and tragedy of the war in the desert. Pr fer became Germany's grand spymaster in the Middle East. Aaronsohn constructed an elaborate Jewish spy-ring in Palestine, only to have the anti-Semitic and bureaucratically-inept British first ignore and then misuse his organization, at tragic personal cost. Yale would become the only American intelligence agent in the entire Middle East - while still secretly on the payroll of Standard Oil. And the enigmatic Lawrence rode into legend at the head of an Arab army, even as he waged secret war against his own nation's imperial ambitions.

Based on years of intensive primary document research, LAWRENCE IN ARABIA definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.
Among the Righteous
Among the Righteous
Paperback      ISBN: 1586485105

Thousands of people have been honored for saving Jews during the Holocaust -- but not a single Arab. Looking for a hopeful response to the plague of Holocaust denial sweeping across the Arab and Muslim worlds, Robert Satloff sets off on a quest to find the Arab hero whose story will change the way Arabs view Jews, themselves, and their own history.

The story of the Holocaust's long reach into the Arab world is difficult to uncover, covered up by desert sands and desert politics. We follow Satloff over four years, through eleven countries, from the barren wasteland of the Sahara, where thousands of Jews were imprisoned in labor camps; through the archways of the Mosque in Paris, which may once have hidden 1700 Jews; to the living rooms of octogenarians in London, Paris and Tunis. The story is very cinematic; the characters are rich and handsome, brave and cowardly; there are heroes and villains. The most surprising story of all is why, more than sixty years after the end of the war, so few people -- Arab and Jew -- want this story told.
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia: Personality, Faith and Times
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Personality, Faith and Times
Hardcover      ISBN: 0863566898

"A masterpiece of scholarship . . . brings to life the legacy of one of Saudi Arabia's most interesting and influential figures."--Professor Anoush Ehteshami, Durham University

In 1964 Faisal bin Abdul Aziz became king of a country holding a quarter of the world's oil reserves, also home to Mecca and Medina. He was called "the most powerful Arab ruler in centuries." Eleven years later, in front of television cameras, his nephew shot him at point-blank range.

In this authoritative biography, Alexei Vassiliev tells the story of a pious, cautious, and resolute leader who steered Saudi Arabia through a minefield of domestic problems, inter-Arab relations and the decline of Soviet influence in the Middle East. King Faisal maintained ties with both Egypt and the United States through two Arab- Israeli wars and the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which revolutionized the world energy market. Throughout, he staked high hopes on cooperation with the United States, a relationship that is still vital to both countries' interests.

Exhaustively researched and including original documents and interviews in Arabic, Russian, and English, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia: Personality, Faith and Times offers a unique perspective of this seminal figure and is key to understanding the Arab world today.

Alexei Vassiliev is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and director of the Institute for African Studies (RAS). He is the author of over thirty books, including the critically acclaimed The History of Saudi Arabia, winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award.

Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
Children of Paradise
The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594487103
The drama that shaped today's Iran, from the Revolution to the present day.

In 1979, seemingly overnight--moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world--Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon. But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be. They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them.

With more than a decade of experience reporting on, researching, and writing about Iran, Laura Secor narrates this unprecedented history as a story of individuals caught up in the slipstream of their time, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with their country's apparatus of violent repression as well as its rich and often tragic history. Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been more entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting; an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change.
A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS
A Rage for Order
The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374252947

A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
One of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2016, Publishers Weekly
One of the Best Books of 2016, NPR
Winner of the 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize
One of 20 Notable Reads from 2016, Mother Jones
Finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Current Interest
Silver Medal Winner of the 2017 Arthur Ross Book Award

In 2011, a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Their bravery and idealism stirred observers around the world and led militant jihadis to worry that they had been superseded by a new and peaceful uprising.

Five years later, the utopian aspirations of 2011 have darkened. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top as old divides reemerge and deepen. Egypt has become a more repressive police state than ever before; Libya, Syria, and Yemen endure civil war; and the extremists of ISIS have spread chaos and carnage across the region and beyond it.

A Rage for Order tracks the tormented legacy of what was once called the Arab Spring. Writing with bold literary ambition, the distinguished New York Times correspondent Robert F. Worth introduces a riveting cast of characters. We meet a Libyan rebel who must decide whether to kill the torturer who murdered his brother; a Yemeni farmer who lives in servitude to a poetry-writing, dungeon-operating chieftain; two young Syrian women whose close friendship devolves into enmity as their sects go to war; and an Egyptian doctor who is caught between his loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and his hopes for a new, tolerant democracy. In a final chapter, Worth tells the moving story of the two eighty-something statesmen whose unlikely camaraderie allowed Tunisia to escape its neighbors' worst fates.

Combining dramatic storytelling with an original analysis of the Arab world today, A Rage for Order captures the psychic and actual civil wars raging throughout the Middle East and explains how the dream of an Arab renaissance gave way to a new age of discord.