The Middle East, the United States, and Europe

The Middle East, the United States, and Europe

Recommended Reading


A History of the Arab Peoples, by Albert Hourani—A world-renowned and respected scholar, Hourani writes this comprehensive history in accessible, and lucid, language. For the scope of the topic at hand, this book is surprisingly concise without losing nuance. This book is a valuable tome for anyone’s library, and an excellent place to start. 


Orientalism, by Edward Said—This classic is less about diplomatic or political history, and more about cultural dynamics in the relationships between Europe and the West on the one hand, and the so-called “Orient” on the other. Perhaps no book on the Middle East has sparked as much debate. Said’s main approach concerns the West’s (mis-) representation of the Middle East. A seminal contribution, but not easy reading, this book is part of Said’s trilogy, which also includes Covering Islam and The Question of Palestine. 


Disordered World: Setting a New Course for the Twenty-first Century, by Amin Maalouf—In this extended and profound essay, Maalouf makes a strong case for a more humane approach to global interaction. He is critical of national self-interest as a motivating force in international relations, and uses episodes in Middle East history to illustrate his framework. Maalouf asserts that the human condition in the new century requires cooperation and attention to relationship building, with an eye toward human dignity and preservation of our common environment. 


Islam and the Arab Awakening, by Tariq Ramadan—Political, sociological, and philosophical/theological, this volume offers a clear alternative to the bifurcated debate between “Islam” and “the West.” Ramadan is especially strong in arguing for a new pathway, afforded by the Arab awakening, that would assert Islam’s best qualities and promote a recalibration of East-West relations. His caution is that the uprisings would lead to a perpetuation of former, familiar patters. Ramadan’s ideas provide—and stimulate—analysis of global relations in healthy ways. 


The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism, by Hamid Dabashi—In this set of intelligent and acute essays, Dabashi contributes to the discussion on the relationship between “East” and “West” (as well as Islam) and what the Arab Spring means for that relationship. His basic argument is that the uprisings across the Arab world represent the beginning of a new phase, one that goes beyond traditional binaries, and helping Europe and the US understand that things are different, as expressed by the people in the region. Written early in the thrust of these times, Dabashi is at times exceedingly optimistic, but his enthusiasm does not diminish from the arguments he makes. 


A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, by David Fromkin—Perhaps the best account of World War I as it impacted the Ottoman Empire, this book is important in helping readers today understand the processes that led to the dilemmas and difficulties facing prospects for peace today. Highly recommended. 


The Great War for Civilization, by Robert Fisk—Not about the socalled modern “clash of civilizations,” this book’s title may surprise the reader, as it refers to another historical period. In Fisk’s unparalleled style, each chapter tells the story of an aspect of modern Middle East history. From the Armenians to Palestine, Lebanon and beyond, this book is fascinating and deeply engaging. It is not for the light-hearted (it’s over 1000 pages long), but each chapter is a self-contained unit worthy of study on its own. 


Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, by Margaret MacMillan—This book is a masterful treatment of the negotiations to end WW I, with chapters dedicated to many of the global issues facing the leaders at that time. Chapters on many of the countries of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are very helpful in understanding the context of the discussions. While the Middle East section left a little to be desired, the holistic approach and the focus on many issues is helpful. 


A Line in the Sand, by James Barr—In this richly detailed account of the period from WWI through WWII, Barr tells a fascinating story of the dynamics between Great Britain and France, allies in the period, but rivals in the Middle East. Fighting common enemies in the world wars, the two countries had a much more fraught relationship as their aspirations in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine were concerned. Barr chronicles the developments and intrigues providing a colorful and surprising backstory to colonialism and control, starting with the SykesPicot agreement, and continuing through the establishment of the state of Israel. 


Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations: 1820- 2001, by Ussama Makdisi—If the beginning date looks familiar, it is not coincidence. Makdisi has chosen to begin this excellent analysis of American relations in the Middle East with the initial encounter of Board missionaries. Throughout the 19th century, Makdisi argues, potential for good relationships existed, and by examining the writings of people from the Middle East, documents this hope. The main turning point was the mid-20th century, when hopes and actual policies clashed. His examination of Arabic sources is especially informative. 


Michael Oren’s book, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present. Michael Oren is the current Israeli ambassador to the US, and academic. This book is an attempt in roughly 600 pages to cover the US’ diplomatic, religious (missionary), and cultural engagement with the Middle East over the life of the US. In it, he treats the 19th century missionary movement, and deserves our attention for that reason. It should be read critically for its treatment of themes and motives. 


America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, by Chas W. Freeman—In this collection of speeches and papers, Freeman offers a candid and clear critique of the US approach to Middle East issues in the last two decades. From Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq (twice), to Israel/Palestine, Freeman offers a forest-and-the-trees perspective on the US’s mistakes, and ways to address them, foremost among them is a renewed commitment to diplomacy, as opposed to belligerency.


Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism, by Stephen Zunes—Zunes’ brief yet deeply analytical book offers a helpful perspective on the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, with an argument that will help the reader understand attitudes in the region toward that very same policy. 


Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil, by Timothy Mitchell—Tracing the impact of the shift from coal to oil as the primary source of energy, Mitchell argues that the ability of workers to press demands has been diminished. He analyses the connection between oil and the global arms trade (“necessary” and “unnecessary” commodities), the impact of nationalization movements and the establishment of OPEC, the political aspects of oil control, and the creation of modern economy. A challenging book, but well worth the effort, Mitchell’s volume teaches and reveals. [Mitchell appeared in a panel on an episode of al-Jazeera’s “Empire” (watch here) in which he discusses issues raised in his book, in response to a 4-part series aired by al-Jazeera called “The Secret of the Seven Sisters.] 


America’s Kingdom, by Robert Vitalis—In this penetrating examination of ARAMCO, its policies, and practices from its founding through its first three decades, Vitalis contextualizes the way a major US company acts with the larger reality of US industry and US territorial expansion. Marked by the racism, workers’ exploitation, and control of resources, ARAMCO was consistent with other US companies’ behavior on three continents. This book is not a history of ARAMCO, but more than that. It raises many difficult questions, and makes many ties explicit. 


The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress, by Chris Hedges—In this collection of essays, columns, and speeches, the journalist and moralist Chris Hedges offers challenging and honest perspectives on several topics, including how corporate interests dominate politics. A significant portion of this book addresses the US role in the Middle East, especially Israel/Palestine. Hedges’ continued efforts to convey truth is welcome and necessary.


Illusion of Progress in the Arab World: A Critique of Western Misconstructions, by Galal Amin—In this short but thoughtful book, Amin is back with a critique of a universal approach to issues related to development. This book is a response to the UN Reports on Development in the Arab World, and is an examination of the methodology and issues of those reports. Amin is a philosopher economist, and this book is just as much about the specific issues as it is about the ideas themselves in a broad context. 


Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment?, by Fawwaz Gerges—Beginning with an overview of the Middle East policy Pres. Obama inherited, Gerges examines Obama’s first term engagement in the issues and explores possible ways forward on Israel/Palestine; Egypt, Iran, and Turkey; and the “war on terror.” This is a timely and intelligent book. 


Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the US-Egyptian Alliance, by Jason Brownlee—Students of realpolitik will not be surprised by Brownlee’s conclusions but his analysis is comprehensive. In this volume, the US-Egyptian relationship is examined and the principles on which it was based through Mubarak’s presidency are identified. These principles led to policy consequences, which are also explored. It remains to be seen what the new era of Egypt’s political history will mean for this relationship. 


Brokers of Deceit: How the US has undermined peace in the Middle East, by Rashid Khalidi—An historian and participant in some of the negotiations discussed, Khalidi examines three “moments” in peacemaking efforts: the 1982 efforts and foundational documents; the Madrid/Oslo period; and Pres. Obama’s first term. This is a much broader history, though, connecting the consistency and evolution of US involvement, identifying guiding US interests and their consequences, and showing the ultimately negative role the US has played. Khalidi’s focus on language, describing it as Orwellian, is astute. This is a short, but quite valuable, contribution. 


Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, edited by Daniel Kurtzer—In this collection of chapters written by knowledgeable insiders and analysts, prospects for possible paths forward are examined. The book is divided into three sections: the regional dimension, the Israeli and Palestinian dimensions, and the United States and the peace process. Twelve experts present insight and suggestions. A fast read, this volume is a timely assessment. Every reader will not necessarily agree with each writer, thus adding value. 


Stuff Happens, by David Hare—Hare is a British playwright who has masterfully recreated the diplomatic negotiations that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. He draws on quotes from public speeches by some of the primary characters (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and British and French officials as well) and imagines some of the closed conversations. The play is short, but makes a clear point about US intentions and approaches. A missing—but important—voice only appears in the last scene.


A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, by Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh—This book walks the reader through the internal debates within the Truman administration and the internal debates within the American Jewish community on the issue of Israel and Jewish statehood. It is most valuable for these two aspects, as the research is quite good.


A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East from the Cold War to the War on Terror, by Patrick Tyler—This is extensive history covers administrations from Eisenhower to George W. Bush with recommendations for the new administration. It is well-written and, as might be expected from a book on this breadth, fairly long (500+ pages). Essentially, each chapter focuses on an administration, with the narrative of a defining Middle East-related policy question as the narrative. It helps the reader live through some of these events in 20th century history, and into the 21st. The only drawback is that it tends to focus on one particular issue for each president, rather than the variety of issues faced by each.


Support Any Friend: Kennedy’s Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance, by Warren Bass—Tracing the chronology of the Kennedy presidency in its Middle East engagements, this book will offer insight into the development of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel from the early days. It treats on questions of military support as well as nuclear capabilities. 


The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, by Robert D. Kaplan—An interesting examination of the engagement of Americans in the Middle East, especially by the diplomatic corps, Kaplan looks at the way people who took language and culture seriously eventually emerged as leaders in important roles, particularly in U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East. 


Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982, by John Boykin—A fascinating and very well researched account of the work of Amb. Philip Habib to negotiate peace in Lebanon in the summer of 1982, this book is also a biography of Habib. Most of the 320 pages of the book focus on a period of about 2 months in Lebanon, with inside accounts of the intense negotiations directed by Habib. The efforts to bring about a solution were intense, and heated. The book is extremely helpful if you wish to understand the invasion of Lebanon by Israel in that year, and the players involved. The author is sympathetic to Habib, who personally managed the PLO’s exit from Beirut, and the story is told largely from over Habib’s shoulder. 


The Missing Peace, by Dennis Ross—This dense volume is a very thorough account of the negotiations that took place at Camp David in July 2000, written by one of the central players. Written with much detail, and personal impressions, Ross’s book is important as documentation of the meetings with Pres. Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Pres. Arafat. 


The Truth About Camp David, by Clayton Swisher—If you have read Dennis Ross’s 800-page account of Camp David 2000, this book will be very helpful in understanding Camp David through the eyes of insiders other than Ross, and provides perspectives that sometimes contradict Ross’s account. This book is indispensable in understanding what happened in the year leading up to the summit, during the days at Camp David, and in the weeks following it. It is well-researched and told in a very readable fashion.


Palestine, Peace not Apartheid, by Jimmy Carter—While too much attention has been given to the title of Pres. Carter’s book, the content is more about his role in brokering the Camp David accords and how his emphasis on the occupation of Palestinian land has not been followed through. President Carter also helps to describe accurately the situation in the occupied West Bank. 


We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land, by Jimmy Carter—Pres. Carter spends much time recapitulating history, most insightfully with excerpts from his own journal. He shares impression of the people he engaged with as President, and much the work he has done since. He then offers analysis and some ideas for the new president on pursuing peace in the Middle East. His most important point is that it is immediately urgent to decide what Israel-Palestine will look like: a one- or two-state solution, and pursue that fervently, with the hard choices involved.


Thirteen Days in September, by Lawrence Wright—In this briskly paced book, Wright chronicles the 1978 Camp David summit that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty the following year. But this book is more than that; it provides important biographical background of Presidents Carter and Sadat, and Prime Minster Begin. It is a study of the characters involved and the historical contexts that led them each to Camp David. Positions staked out then have bearing on the state of the conflict today, and is therefore is an especially relevant as contemporary insight. 


Resurrecting Empire and Sowing Crisis, by Rashid Khalidi—These two books are clear descriptions of the ways that the US and Europe have impacted the current state of the Middle East, through an historical examination. Khalidi’s writing—and critique—are helpful contributions to understanding current dynamics. 


The Much Too Promised Land, by Aaron David Miller—Miller recounts diplomatic history from the 1970’s through the present, by someone on the inside of American administrations. Focusing on Kissinger, Carter, and James Baker, as well as Clinton, Miller offers some honest and helpful assessment of the US’s role in seeking peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Not overly partisan, Miller attempts to identify key issues and assess what the US has done right and wrong. 


The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, by Chalmers Johnson—This book is part of a series Johnson has written critiquing US foreign policy, and is particularly useful in understanding the US’ interest and reach in the Middle East. Johnson’s research is extensive, and his critique is strong. Here, he focuses on the military-industrial complex and the relationship between the arms industry and politics in this country. Other books include Blowback and Nemesis. 


Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial, by Steve Hendricks—This book reads like a great novel, but is non-fiction. Hendricks has done a fine job of putting many pieces together in this account of the CIA’s work—in cooperation with and independently of Italian authorities—to take into custody a suspected leader in a cell of terrorists in Milan. This book is about the US, Italy, and Egypt. At some points, it is graphic, but in that is accurate.


The Second Arab Awakening, by Adeed Dawisha—In this compact volume, Dawisha looks at the current events in the Middle East in the context of an earlier period, that of the middle of the 20th century. That era was marked by nationalism and anti-colonial movements, and the emergence of Islamic groups in Arab politics, as well. Dawisha examines the historical currents that defined the first Arab awakening, and describes the challenges faced by the current generation of revolutionaries. Sweeping yet detailed, this is a valuable book to understand historical context and political developments. 


The Battle for the Arab Spring: Revolution, Counter-revolution and the Making of a New Era, by Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren—In this most comprehensive examination of the “Arab Spring,” the authors recognize the continuing nature of the revolts, but consistently remind the reader that the main issues that prompted them are economic. Well-written and well-argued, these knowledgeable observers of the Middle East provide excellent coverage of the first year and beyond of the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and Syria.


The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life, by Roger Owen—This book is an overview of the characteristics of Arab “permanent” presidencies, and a country-by-country presentation of how they got there. With democracy emerging after the end of the Cold War, the Arab world has been described as exceptional—where democracy did not similarly emerge. Owen looks at this phenomenon, and how Arab leaders consolidated their power. Written just before the “Arab Spring,” it identifies weaknesses that would later be exposed. 


When Victory is not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics, by Nathan J. Brown—Brown examines the impact of semiauthoritarian regimes on Islamist movements in the contexts of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Palestine. A rigorous political science study, Brown’s observations, access, and analysis are quite valuable in understanding the roles Islamist movements attempt to play and to define for themselves, as well as the impact of their political context (in which political victory is not an option) on those attempts. He suggests, “As long as Arab semiauthoritarian regimes are in place, Islamist movements will … experiment with many things but fully commit to little.”


Life as Politics, by Asef Bayat—In this pre-“Arab Spring” compilation of academic articles, Bayat hypothesizes that the Middle East is replete with efforts to bring about change. He defines the “art of presence” as the “aptitude and audacity associated with active citizenry.” He focuses on women’s movements, the working poor, and religious movements, suggesting that they constitute political “non-movements.” Bayat’s insight into Iran and Egypt is especially helpful. 


The World through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East, by Shibley Telhami—Telhami is a prominent analyst of public opinion in the Middle East. Relying on opinions garnered from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, and United Arab Emirates, as well as the US and Israel, Telhami examines a variety of questions including local and regional politics, media, the Middle East and relations with the US and Europe, democracy, women, the Arab uprisings of 2011, and the future. This is an excellent reference with Telhami’s sharp explication and analysis. 


Arab Voices: What they are saying to us and why it matters, by James Zogby—Written by the director of the Arab-American Institute, this book is very helpful in helping a broader audience learn about Arabs, the Middle East, and Arab-Americans. Zogby’s writing style is lucid which makes the topics he addresses more interesting. The book dispels myths about Arabs and the Middle East, gives some history and current politics, and provides access to a variety of Arab opinions, with analysis.


Who Speaks for Islam? by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed—This study makes an important contribution to the literature on Muslim opinions on a variety of subjects is impressive and important. It is a highly readable and accessible book, with much that may be surprising. It’s greatest value ids that it offers voice to Muslims around the world.


Engaging the Muslim World, by Juan Cole—With a historian/academic’s approach, Cole writes with much experience and speaks to the layperson. This is not an overly academic book, and offers much in the way of history and background in many issue areas and on many countries. Cole is the author of the blog, “Informed Content,” which is a source readers may wish to visit.


Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, by Mahmood Mamdani—In this study of 20th century US engagement with Islam, Mamdani attempts to discredit “clash of civilization” theories and approaches to the “war on terror.” This book traces the history of positive US engagement with certain Muslims, and the oppositional US policy to other Muslims, and the respective contributions to today’s circumstances.


Beyond War: Reimagining American influence in a new Middle East, by David Rohde—In this collection of journalistic articles, Rohde highlights examples of the positive impact of the investment of diplomatic and development dollars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and explores similar possibilities in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. Through such an approach, the US can change its course and its effectiveness—in contrast with continued high levels of military spending. An especially helpful chapter on drones is a timely contribution. 


A Necessary Engagement, by Emile Nakhleh—A a former US Government Intelligence agent, and a Palestinian Christian, Nakhleh offers much insight and wisdom into the issue of how the US Government has treated Islam, from an insider’s perspective, and offers solid advice on how the new administration should proceed to improve relations with the Muslim world. His book is short, but rich.


Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, by Robert Pape—This book, which was originally published in 2005, is a systematic presentation of ground-breaking research on suicide terrorism. Compiling an all-inclusive database of incidents of suicide terror from 1980-2003, Pape looks at what common threats link the over 300 incidents. His conclusion is that nationalist movements confronting an occupation by a democratic state that is of a different religion are most likely to employ suicide terrorism. His cases are strong, and his conclusion is convincing. Religion, including Islam, is not a primary motivating factor, and this is an important finding. Pape’s book has become a seminal study in the few years since it was published, and has important recommendations for reforming US foreign policy.


Peace out of Reach: Middle Eastern Travels and the Search for Reconciliation, by Stephen Eric Bronner—This book is a collection of essays on countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Sudan, and on political theory. Bronner is a political scientist, and writes here from his informed and direct experience about the Middle East, asserting the need for a “cosmopolitan sensibility.” His interest is high, and his writing is lucid. Bronner’s book will make the reader want to learn more about history. Bronner’s approach to social and political relations as they pertain to the Middle East is helpful and can move the discussion forward.


Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance, by David Gardner—This short, but dense, volume is an excellent review of the contemporary history of US (and European) engagement with the Middle East, with helpful analysis and reasonable policy recommendations for the future of relations in the region and with Islam.


The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy by Howard Friel and Richard Falk, and Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East, by Richard Falk—These companion books are meticulously researched and reveal, for some, surprising findings. On Iraq and Israel/Palestine, the “paper of record” has not been a faithful chronicler of events and debate, argue the authors. Correctives are necessary, and the reading audience should know of the critique offered in these books. 


People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East, by Joris Luyendijk— A Dutch journalist, Luyendijk takes the opportunity to expose the ins and outs of how the Middle East is covered, and in so doing, reveals much about the industry of “news.” Having spent years in the Middle East, and having engaged deeply with other journalists from the West (including the US), Luyendijk is in a good position to share this kind of insight. This book demonstrates how news is determined. (A related resource is the DVD, Peace, Propaganda, and the Holy Land.) 


They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, by Paul Findlay—Findlay was a US Congressman from Illinois for 22 years, but lost his reelection campaign, and tells the story of the impact and influence of AIPAC in that election. This book was written in 1985 and provides historical data for today’s debate about the Israel Lobby. 


The Israel Lobby, by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt—This is an important book, and expanded version of their 2006 London Review of Books article on the same topic. Much debated, the co-authors, prominent professors, present the argument that several types of organizations (Jewish and non-Jewish) are quite influential in their lobbying in Washington, giving the state of Israel sufficient support in the US. Detailed and well-written, this book has become important in the short time since it was published. 


The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey, by Fouad Ajami—This masterful text is a well-written and informative insight into the pan-Arab movement, particularly through the lens of Arab writers. Ajami is superior in conveying the writing of Arab nationalists. 


The Age of the Warrior: Selected Essays, by Robert Fisk—If you are not familiar with Fisk, he is based in Beirut, and has a deep appreciation for the history of the region, as well as an insightful and provocative way of relating current events. This book treats 2001-2007 through articles he wrote for his British newspaper columns. 


The Media Relations Department of Hizbullah Wishes you a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East, by Neil MacFarquhar—The title of this book gives a sense that this is light reading. It is not. MacFarquhar is the former Middle East correspondent for the New York Times, and this book lives up to that billing. It does have some light moments, but in the context of insightful analysis of the region as a whole. MacFarquhar gives us bits from his time spent in countries throughout the region, and takes us inside some of the discourse and debate in the region.


Dining with al-Qaeda: Three decades exploring the many worlds of the Middle East, by Hugh Pope—Pope is an excellent writer. Now with the International Crisis Group, he has spent more than 30 years covering the Middle East for major English-language newspapers. This book delves deeply into the heterogeneity of the Middle East in an attempt to go beyond facile images and representations. A book of memoires and recollections of seeking stories for his newspaper, Pope conveys voices from the region. He also comments on the industry of media in its effort to get the story it wants, and the associated frustration of the local correspondent who knows that there’s much more to the story. Finally, he reflects on the role of the war correspondent, and how his own approach changed as a husband and as a father.


Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, by Gerard Russell—Russell, a former British diplomat, has written an interesting and accessible book on several lesser known religious communities of the Middle East and Central Asia. Chapters on the history and current realities of the Mandaeans, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Druze, Samaritans, Copts, and Kalashas, provides insight into the lives and customs of these various communities, both in their place of origin and in the diaspora. Some of these religious communities will be more familiar, or will be recognized because of current media coverage of the Middle East, but most groups are largely ignored or simply unknown. 


From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East, by Bernard Lewis—Prof. Lewis has been a prominent scholar of the Middle East for many decades. This book is a collection of many articles he wrote over the course of that span of time, and is replete with good scholarship. One can learn a great deal from this book about culture and politics in the region; many of the sections conclude with a policy recommendation or comment that reveals Lewis’ approach. 


Water Wars: Coming Conflicts in the Middle East, by John Bulloch and Adel Darwish—While several years old, this book gives a detailed and prescient look at the importance of and conflict over water throughout the region. 


Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, by Joseph Nye— While not specifically on the Middle East, Nye coined the term “Soft Power” to measure non-military means. In this book, Nye outlines economic and cultural power as especially important in co-option and attraction. He proposes that international relations be considered as a multi-layered chess board, with military might (means of coercion) playing out on one of the levels, but all levels of the game are concurrently moving. These ideas have clear applications in the Middle East. 


Fortress Europe, by Matthew Carr—This book is a significant accomplishment in that it traces the 20th century history of the development of European borders and efforts to manage the movement of people. It takes the reader to several points of contact between Europe and beyond—Poland, Greece/Turkey, the Mediterranean, Morocco/Spain, and the UK—and examines the ways that people are (mis)treated as they attempt, for varied reasons, to enter Europe. It introduces the reader to the people on both sides of the debates on migration as well as migrants and border guards. And it examines the concept of a borderless world. Carr has made an important contribution that humanizes the reality of the movement of people in and to Europe. 


We Are All Moors, by Anouar Majid—In this study, Majid traces a direct line between the Spanish expulsion of Muslims and Jews in the 15th century to the situation facing Europe and the United States today regarding immigration. Positing that European attitudes toward Muslims and US attitudes towards Hispanics are similar to the earlier period, he asserts that “since the defeat of Islam in medieval Spain, minorities in the West have become…reincarnations of the Moor, an enduring threat to Western civilization.” A careful treatment of the historical relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims is especially enlightening; linking historical events to contemporary debates is equally instructive. 


Algerian Chronicles, by Albert Camus—In this collection of articles, essays, and speeches, the voice of Camus comes through clearly. Camus, a native of Algeria, conveyed to French readership the complexity of French involvement there, and described the poverty and misery that French colonialism had resulted in. While he did not advocate for an independent Algeria, Camus did support non-violent efforts and was critical of both French colonial policies and of violent Algerians. He names the injustice of policies, the discrimination of pieds noirs, and of the racism that was extant. This is a valuable perspective and collection from a Nobel laureate. 


Season of Migration to the North, by Tayeb Salih—This short novel has become a classic in Arabic literature, dealing with issues of colonialism and the quest for independence of Arab states. Written in the 1960s, Season of Migration is set in a village in the Sudan, and the main characters wrestle with issues of a fellow Sudanese who has returned to the Sudan after living in Europe. Salih’s approach is fairly complex, but the novella is highly readable and draws one in to the story and themes.