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A Death in Jerusalem reveals the forces behind this assassination, the passion that first dictated the tactics of terrorism in Israel and that continue to shape the thinking and actions of those even now determined to block accommodation with the Palestinians.
At its birth in 1948, the State of Israel was endangered as much by a fratricidal war between Jewish moderates and extremists as it was by the invading armies of its Arab neighbors. In the first test of its authority, the fledgling United Nations forged a temporary truce between Arabs and Jews and dispatched Count Bernadotte to negotiate a permanent peace. A Swede with a reputation for skillful negotiations with the Nazis for the release of prisoners, including Jewish concentration-camp victims, Bernadotte had seemed the ideal choice for mediator. But he was dangerously unversed in the Israeli underground’s passionate visions of a homeland restored to its biblical geographical proportions.
To the Stern Gang, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, any concession of land was as threatening to Israel’s integrity as the Arabs’ invading armies. And the Sternists did not trust Count Bernadotte, whom they saw as threatening Israel’s claim to the holy city of Jerusalem. As Bernadotte prepared his plan for the allocation of disputed territory, the Stern Gang plotted his murder.
Drawing on previously untapped sources, including Bernadotte’s family and former Stern Gang members, Kati Marton tells the vivid and haunting story of what propelled the Sternists, how they achieved their goal, and how and why the assassins were shielded from prosecution.
From the Hardcover edition.
In 2001, Christopher de Bellaigue, then the Economist's correspondent in Istanbul, wrote a piece about the history of Turkey for The New York Review of Books. In it, he briefly discussed the killing and deportation of half a million Armenians in 1915. These massacres, he suggested, were best understood as part of the struggles that attended the end of the Ottoman empire.
After the story was published, the magazine was besieged with letters. This wasn't war, the correspondents said; it was genocide. And the death toll was not half a million but three times that many. De Bellaigue was mortified. How had he gotten it so wrong? He went back to Turkey, but found that the national archives had sealed all documents pertaining to those times. Undeterred and armed with a stack of contraband histories, he set out to the conflicted southeastern Turkish city of Varto to discover what had really happened.
There, de Bellaigue found a place in which the centuries-old conflict among Turks, Armenians, and Kurds was still very much alive. His government escort began their association by marching with him arm in arm through the town's shopping district to show his presence; the local police chief, sent by the central office in Ankara to keep an eye on the Kurds, was sure he was a spy. He found houses built from the ruins of old Armenian churches, young boys playing soccer with old skulls, and a cast of villagers who all seemed unwilling to talk.
What emerges is both an intellectual detective story and a reckoning with memory and identity that brings to life the basic conflicts of the Middle East: between statehood and religion, imperial borders and ethnic identity. Combining a deeply informed view of the area's history with the testimonials of the townspeople who slowly come to trust him, de Bellaigue unravels the enigma of the Turkish twentieth century, a time that contains the death of an empire, the founding of a nation, and the near extinction of a people. Rebel Land exposes the historical and emotional fault lines that lie behind many of today's headlines: about Turkey and its faltering bid for membership into the EU, about the Kurds and their bid for nationhood, and the Armenians' campaign for genocide recognition.
The history of the Middle East tells us that one of the greatest problems of the last forty years has been that of a displaced population, angered by their inability to safely return home and resume ownership of their property—as they see it. Now, the pattern has been repeated. A new population of exiles, as large as the Palestinians, has been created.
This particular displacement stirs up the historic conflict between Sunni and Shia. More significant even than the creation of colonial nation states a century ago, the alienation of the Sunni middle class has the capacity to cause resounding resentments across the region for generations to come.
Wisdom of a Turkmen proverb.
The Root of Wild Madder opens with an invitation that flows from the same ancient inspiration. "A carpet is poetry itself," an Iranian carpet merchant declares to author Brian Murphy. "You just have to learn to read them." So begins a journey. It follows Persian carpets from the remote villages of Afghanistan and Iran where they are woven -- often by young girls -- and on to the bazaars where they are traded, to the Sufis and mystic poets who find grace and magic in their timeless designs, and, finally and unexpectedly, to a carpet showroom in New York.
Told in exquisite prose befitting one of the world's loveliest art forms, The Root of Wild Madder eloquently chronicles how carpets embody humanity's endless striving for unattainable perfection. Here are stories of the weavers and their dreams, the "mules" who move the carpets from place to place, the tradesmen who sell them in the bazaars, and the refugee compelled to trade a carpet he believes contains the soul of his grandmother -- because his family must eat.
The madder plant has fed the carpets' red brilliance since the earliest weavings. But the power of its palette, like the dyers' traditions, threatens to pass from memory. It would be a profound loss. It's part of a world as rich as any sublime carpet: steeped in spirituality, culture, allegory, and, above all, mystery. Nearly all the carpet masterworks are anonymous art for the ages, and Murphy seeks out their glorious hidden narratives. As he observes, "Every carpet carries its own distinctive voice. Suddenly I wanted to hear them."
A thousand years later, Arab states are in decay. Official corruption and ineptitude have eroded state authority and created a vacuum that militant Islam has rushed to fill. In Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants, Glain takes us on a journey through the heart of what were once the great Islamic caliphates, the countries now known as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Egypt, to illustrate how a once prosperous and enlightened civilization finds itself at a crossroads between a Dark Age and a New Dawn.
As late as a century ago, what we call the Levant was a prosperous trading bloc. By carving the region into proxy states and emirates after the First World War, the Western powers Balkanized and undermined the Levantine economy. That in turn prepared the ground for a regional autocracy that rejected economic openness and religious tolerance, qualities that had made the old Islamic caliphates great. Today the Arab world has opted out of the global economy, with tragic consequences. It is up to the new generation of leaders -- and the Western governments that created the modern Middle East -- to reverse the sclerosis and revive the region.
objective history of the long battle between Arabs and Jews for possession of a land they both call home. It appears at a most timely juncture, as the bloody and protracted struggle seems at last to be headed for resolution.
With great clarity of vision, Professor Morris finds the roots of this conflict in the deep religious, ethnic, and political differences between the Zionist immigrants and the native Arab population of Palestine. He describes the gradual influx of Jewish settlers, which was eventually fiercely resisted by the Arabs during the decades of British Mandatory government following World War I.
The establishment of the State of Israel in 1947 - 48 gave the Jews a homeland in the wake of the Holocaust, but the ensuing flight of the Palestinian Arabs shattered their society and led to the birth of a festering refugee problem. Morris describes these epic events and the Arab onslaught that followed, as he does each of the subsequent wars (in 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982 - 85); the Intifada of 1987 - 91, when the Palestinian populace of the West Bank and Gaza Strip rebelled against Israeli rule; and the rise of fundamentalist religious movements on both sides of the barricades. Tracing the successes and failures of politicians, generals, and diplomats in both camps, he regards their actions and plight with accuracy and empathy, drawing on archival materials, memoirs, and secondary works to give a vivid account of each major military encounter--and of the vicissitudes of peace efforts from the post-1948 negotiations through the Camp David (1977 - 79), Oslo (1993 - 95), and Wye River Plantation (1998) accords. Mr. Morris offers sharply etched portraits and illuminating anecdotes about the charismatic leaders who have been the chief protagonists of this contentious history, including Theodor Herzl, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, David Ben-Gurion, Anwar Sadat, and Menachem Begin, to name only a few.
Righteous Victims ends with Mr. Morris's analysis of the current state of play, when the election of Ehud Barak as prime minister (May 1999) has opened the door to a renewal of negotiations between Israel and its Palestinian and Syrian neighbors. As the denizens of the Middle East set out to write the next chapter in this long and difficult struggle, Righteous Victims is essential reading: a monumental work of narration and explication for all who seek to understand the history of the conflict and the prospects for peace.
From the Hardcover edition.
Seeking the motivation behind the September 11 attacks, Smith moved to Cairo, where he discovered that the standard explanation—a clash of East and West—was simply not the case. Middle East conflicts have little to do with Israel, the United States, or the West in general, but are endemic to the region. According to Smith’s “Strong Horse Doctrine,” the Arab world naturally aligns itself with strength, power, and violence. He argues that America must be the strong horse in order to reclaim its role there, and that only by understanding the nature of the region’s ancient conflicts can we succeed.
Smith details the three-decades-long relationship between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the United States, and gives a history of the Muslim Brotherhood, which would likely play an important role in the formation of a new government in Egypt. He also discusses Lebanon, where tipping the balance against Hezbollah in favor of pro-democracy, pro-US forces has become imperative, as a special tribunal investigates the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Eye-opening and in-depth, The Strong Horse is much needed background and perspective on today’s headlines.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Based on more than thirty extended reporting trips to Iran, including the turbulent aftermath of the disputed June 2009 election, Scott Peterson’s portrait is the definitive guide to this enigmatic nation, from the roots of its incendiary internal struggles to the rise and slide of Iran’s earthshaking 1979 Islamic Revolution.
This prize-winning American journalist with unparalleled experience in Iran takes us there, inside a country where an educated and young population is restlessly eager to take its place in the world; where martyrs of the "sacred" Iran-Iraq War are still mourned with tears of devotion; where the cultural and religious forces of light and darkness are locked in battle. Peterson brings stunningly alive the diversity within Iran—from the hard-liners who shout "Death to America" to the majority who comprise the most pro-American population in the Middle East.
Let the Swords Encircle Me gives voice to Iranians themselves—the clerics and the reformers, the filmmakers and the journalists, the True Believers and their Westernized and profane brethren—to understand the complexities of Iran today. Through dedicated and in-depth reporting, Peterson shows how every word, image, and sensibility in Iran is often deliciously unexpected and counterintuitive. Ideology matters. So does "resistance." And azadi: freedom.
Peterson deftly holds a mirror up to both sides of the U.S.-Iran conflict. Americans and Iranians, he writes, share a belief in their own exceptionalism and "manifest destiny" (which for Iran includes its nuclear ambitions) and frequent need of an "enemy" in political discourse. The same elements that have locked the United States and Iran in the most vicious of struggles—stretching back to the 1953 CIA coup in Tehran and the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage saga—are the same ones that could one day make Iran and the United States the most "natural" allies in the region.
In this critical and personal account, Peterson illumines the latest episodes of Iran’s century-old quest for democracy and freedom. He explains how the Islamic Revolution—launched as a beacon of justice and resistance for Iranians and all the world’s Muslims—has not lived up to its ambitious promise. He shows how the violence of 2009 damaged the regime’s legitimacy and marks the start of an irreversible decline.
Let the Swords Encircle Me takes us into the minds and hearts of Iranians today, and will be a crucial guide as Americans and Iranians attempt to overcome their bitter estrangement.
Based on a new poll run by Zogby International exclusively for this book, some of the surprising results revealed include:
* Despite the frustration with the peace process and the number of wars of the past few years, 74% of Arabs still support a two state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And over one-third of Lebanese, Saudis, and Jordanians think that their governments should do more to advance peace.
* Despite wars in and around their region and the worldwide economic crisis, when asked "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" 42% of those polled say they are better off, 19% worse off.
* Arabs like American people (59% favorable rating), values (52%) and products (69%), giving them all high ratings. And Canada gets high favorability ratings everywhere (an overall rating of 55% favorable and 32% unfavorable).
* However, Arabs overwhelmingly rate American society "more violent and war-like" (77%) or "less respectful of the rights ofothers" (78%) than their own society. Why? Because of the Iraq war and continuing fallout from Abu Ghraib,Guantanamo, and the treatment of Arab and Muslim immigrants and visitors to the United States.
* What type of TV show do Saudis and Egyptians prefer to watch? The answer is, "Movies", which draws over 50% of the first and second choice votes. In Morocco, the top rated shows are "soap operas" and music and entertainment programs, drawing almost two-thirds of the first and second choice votes. Religious programs are near the bottom of the list of viewer preferences, garnering less than 10% of votes in all three countries.
Venerated for millennia by three faiths, torn by irreconcilable conflict, conquered, rebuilt, and mourned for again and again, Jerusalem is a sacred city whose very sacredness has engendered terrible tragedy. In this fascinating volume, Karen Armstrong, author of the highly praised A History of God, traces the history of how Jews, Christians, and Muslims have all laid claim to Jerusalem as their holy place, and how three radically different concepts of holiness have shaped and scarred the city for thousands of years.
Armstrong unfolds a complex story of spiritual upheaval and political transformation--from King David's capital to an administrative outpost of the Roman Empire, from the cosmopolitan city sanctified by Christ to the spiritual center conquered and glorified by Muslims, from the gleaming prize of European Crusaders to the bullet-ridden symbol of the present-day Arab-Israeli conflict.
Written with grace and clarity, the product of years of meticulous research, Jerusalem combines the pageant of history with the profundity of searching spiritual analysis. Like Karen Armstrong's A History of God, Jerusalem is a book for the ages.
This is a truly enriching and exhaustive history of a nation that holds claim to one of the most complicated and controversial histories in the world.
Gyalo Thondup has long lived out of the spotlight and hidden from view, but his whole life has been dedicated to the cause of his younger brother and Tibet. He served for decades as the Dalai Lama's special envoy, the trusted interlocutor between Tibet and foreign leaders from Chiang Kai-shek to Jawaharlal Nehru, Zhou Enlai to Deng Xiaoping. Traveling the globe and meeting behind closed doors, Thondup has been an important witness to some of the epochal events of the 20th century. No one has a better grasp of the ongoing great game as the divergent interests of China, India, Russia and the United States continue to play themselves out over the Tibetan plateau. Only the Dalai Lama himself has played a more important role in the political history of modern, tragedy-ridden Tibet. Indeed, the Dalai Lama's dramatic escape from Lhasa to exile in India would not have been possible without his brother's behind-the-scenes help.
Now, together with Anne F. Thurston, who co-wrote the international best seller The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Gyalo Thondup is finally telling his story.
The settings are exotic—the Tibetan province of Amdo where the two brothers spent their early childhood; Tibet's legendary capital of Lhasa; Nanjing, where Thondup received a Chinese education; Taiwan, where he fled when he could not return to Tibet; Calcutta, Delhi, and the Himalayan hill towns of India, where he finally made his home; Hong Kong, which served as his listening post for China, and the American Rockies, where he sent young Tibetan resistance fighters to be trained clandestinely by the CIA.
But Thondup's story does not reiterate the otherworldly, Shangri-La vision of the Land of Snows so often portrayed in the West. Instead, it is an intimate, personal look at the Dalai Lama and his immediate family and an inside view of vicious and sometimes deadly power struggles within the Potala Palace--that immensely imposing architectural wonder that looms over Lhasa and is home to both the spiritual and secular seats of Tibetan power.
In an old mansion in Cennethisar, a former fishing village near Istanbul, a widow, Fatma, awaits the annual summer visit of her grandchildren. She has lived in the village for decades, ever since her husband, an idealistic young doctor, ran afoul of the sultan’s grand vizier and arrived to serve the poor fishermen. Now mostly bedridden, she is attended by her constant servant Recep, a dwarf—and the doctor’s illegitimate son. Despite mutual dependency, there is no love lost between mistress and servant, who have very different recollections—and grievances—from the early years, before Cennethisar grew into a high-class resort surrounding the family house, now in shambles.
Though eagerly anticipated, Fatma’s grandchildren bring little consolation. The eldest, Faruk, a dissipated historian, wallows in alcohol as he laments his inability to tell the story of the past from the kaleidoscopic pieces he finds in the local archive; his sensitive leftist sister, Nilgün, has yet to discover the real-life consequences of highminded politics; and Metin, a high school nerd, tries to keep up with the lifestyle of his spoiled society schoolmates while he fantasizes about going to America—an unaffordable dream unless he can persuade his grandmother to tear down her house.
But it is Recep’s nephew Hasan, a high school dropout, lately fallen in with right-wing nationalists, who will draw the visiting family into the growing political cataclysm issuing from Turkey’s tumultuous century-long struggle for modernity.
By turns deeply moving, hilarious, and terrifying, Silent House pulses with the special energy of a great writer’s early work even as it offers beguiling evidence of the mature genius for which Orhan Pamuk would later be celebrated the world over.
This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Steve Coll’s The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century is the groundbreaking history of a family and its fortune. It chronicles a young illiterate Yemeni bricklayer, Mohamed Bin Laden, who went to the new, oil-rich country of Saudi Arabia and quickly became a vital figure in its development, building great mosques and highways and making himself and many of his children millionaires. It is also a story of the Saudi royal family, whom the Bin Ladens served loyally and without whose capricious favor they would have been nothing. And it is a story of tensions and contradictions in a country founded on extreme religious purity, which then became awash in oil money and dazzled by the temptations of the West. In only two generations the Bin Ladens moved from a famine-stricken desert canyon to luxury jets, yachts, and private compounds around the world, even going into business with Hollywood celebrities. These religious and cultural gyrations resulted in everything from enthusiasm for America—exemplified by Osama’s free-living pilot brother Salem—to an overwhelming determination to destroy it.
The Bin Ladens is a meticulously researched, colorful, shocking, entertaining, and disturbing narrative of global integration and its limitations. It encapsulates the unsettling contradictions of globalization in the story of a single family who has used money, mobility, and technology to dramatically varied ends.
— Israeli President Shimon Peres
For decades, Israel's renowned security arm, the Mossad, has been widely recognized as the best intelligence service in the world. In Mossad, authors Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal take us behind the closed curtain with riveting, eye-opening, boots-on-the-ground accounts of the most dangerous, most crucial missions in the agency's 60-year history. These are real Mission: Impossible true stories brimming with high-octane action—from the breathtaking capture of Nazi executioner Adolph Eichmann to the recent elimination of key Iranian nuclear scientists. Anyone who is fascinated by the world of international espionage, intelligence, and covert "Black-Ops" warfare will find Mossad electrifying reading.
The true story of a young mullah, his life in the sacred shrine city of Qom, and the dramatic events of the 1979 Revolution, this enthralling account paints a vivid picture of contemporary Iran, while providing a panoramic survey of Muslim, Shi'ite and Persian culture from the Middle Ages to the current day. From the ancient time of Zoroaster to the world of Khomeini, this sweeping saga interweaves biography with history, politics and religion to offer new levels of understanding into Iran’s past, present and future.
Written with feeling, sympathy and clarity, this revised edition includes a new chronology detailing events in Iran from the revolution right up to the present day and Ahmadinejad’s controversial regime.
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.
Moaveni's homecoming falls in the heady days of the country's reform movement, when young people demonstrated in the streets and shouted for the Islamic regime to end. In these tumultuous times, she struggles to build a life in a dark country, wholly unlike the luminous, saffron and turquoise-tinted Iran of her imagination. As she leads us through the drug-soaked, underground parties of Tehran, into the hedonistic lives of young people desperate for change, Moaveni paints a rare portrait of Iran's rebellious next generation. The landscape of her Tehran — ski slopes, fashion shows, malls and cafes — is populated by a cast of young people whose exuberance and despair brings the modern reality of Iran to vivid life.
The Crisis of Islam ranges widely through thirteen centuries of history, but in particular it charts the key events of the twentieth century leading up to the violent confrontations of today: the creation of the state of Israel, the Cold War, the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and the September 11th attacks on the United States.
While hostility toward the West has a long and varied history in the lands of Islam, its current concentration on America is new. So too is the cult of the suicide bomber. Brilliantly disentangling the crosscurrents of Middle Eastern history from the rhetoric of its manipulators, Bernard Lewis helps us understand the reasons for the increasingly dogmatic rejection of modernity by many in the Muslim world in favor of a return to a sacred past. Based on his George Polk Award–winning article for The New Yorker, The Crisis of Islam is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Usama bin Ladin represents and why his murderous message resonates so widely in the Islamic world.
From the Hardcover edition.