Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite

Simon and Schuster
2

A tight-knit group closely linked by intermarriage as well as class and old school ties, the “Arabists” were men and women who spent much of their lives living and working in the Arab world as diplomats, military attaches, intelligence agents, scholar-adventurers, and teachers. As such, the Arabists exerted considerable influence both as career diplomats and as bureaucrats within the State Department from the early nineteenth century to the present. But over time, as this work shows, the group increasingly lost touch with a rapidly changing American society, growing both more insular and headstrong and showing a marked tendency to assert the Arab point of view. Drawing on interviews, memoirs, and other official and private sources, Kaplan reconstructs the 100-year history of the Arabist elite, demonstrating their profound influence on American attitudes toward the Middle East, and tracing their decline as an influx of ethnic and regional specialists has transformed the State Department and challenged the power of the old elite.
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About the author

Journalist Robert D. Kaplan is a contributing editor The Atlantic Monthly. He has traveled extensively, and his journeys through Yugoslavia and America have produced, respectively, Balkan Ghosts (which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) and An Empire Wilderness. Kapan is also the author of Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power (Random House, 2010) and The Revenge of Geography (Random House, 2012) Kaplan has lectured at the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon's Joint Staff, major universities, the CIA, and business forums.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 1, 1995
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781439108703
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
History / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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From the New York Times bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a riveting journey through one of Europe’s frontier countries—and a potent examination of the forces that will determine Europe’s fate in the postmodern age.

Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country—a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. In Europe’s Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making—the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more.

Here Kaplan illuminates the fusion of the Latin West and the Greek East that created Romania, the country that gave rise to Ion Antonescu, Hitler’s chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceaușescu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold War–era Bucharest; the Bărăgan Steppe, laid bare by centuries of foreign invasion; the grim labor camps of the Black Sea Canal; the majestic Gothic church spires of Transylvania and Maramureş. Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politicians—those who struggle to keep the flame of humanism alive in the era of a resurgent Russia.

Upon his return to Romania in 2013 and 2014, Kaplan found the country transformed yet again—now a traveler’s destination shaped by Western tastes, yet still emerging from the long shadows of Hitler and Stalin. In Europe’s Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier—and the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis Europe faces, from Russia and from within.

Praise for In Europe’s Shadow

“[A] haunting yet ultimately optimistic examination of the human condition as found in Romania . . . Kaplan’s account of the centuries leading up to the most turbulent of all—the twentieth—is both sweeping and replete with alluring detail.”—Alison Smale, The New York Times Book Review

“This book reveals the confident, poetical Kaplan . . . but also a reflective, political Kaplan, seeking at times to submerge his gift for romantic generalization in respectful attention to the ideas of others.”—Timothy Snyder, The Washington Post

“A serious yet impassioned survey of Romania . . . Kaplan is a regional geographer par excellence.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Kaplan is one of America’s foremost writers on the region. . . . In a series of deep dives into the region’s past—Byzantine, Ottoman, Habsburg and Soviet—he finds parallels and echoes that help us understand the present.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Kaplan moves seamlessly from sights, sounds, and conversations to the resonance of history.”—Foreign Affairs


From the Hardcover edition.
In this provocative, startling book, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Monsoon and Balkan Ghosts, offers a revelatory new prism through which to view global upheavals and to understand what lies ahead for continents and countries around the world.
 
In The Revenge of Geography, Kaplan builds on the insights, discoveries, and theories of great geographers and geopolitical thinkers of the near and distant past to look back at critical pivots in history and then to look forward at the evolving global scene. Kaplan traces the history of the world’s hot spots by examining their climates, topographies, and proximities to other embattled lands. The Russian steppe’s pitiless climate and limited vegetation bred hard and cruel men bent on destruction, for example, while Nazi geopoliticians distorted geopolitics entirely, calculating that space on the globe used by the British Empire and the Soviet Union could be swallowed by a greater German homeland.
 
Kaplan then applies the lessons learned to the present crises in Europe, Russia, China, the Indian subcontinent, Turkey, Iran, and the Arab Middle East. The result is a holistic interpretation of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia. Remarkably, the future can be understood in the context of temperature, land allotment, and other physical certainties: China, able to feed only 23 percent of its people from land that is only 7 percent arable, has sought energy, minerals, and metals from such brutal regimes as Burma, Iran, and Zimbabwe, putting it in moral conflict with the United States. Afghanistan’s porous borders will keep it the principal invasion route into India, and a vital rear base for Pakistan, India’s main enemy. Iran will exploit the advantage of being the only country that straddles both energy-producing areas of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Finally, Kaplan posits that the United States might rue engaging in far-flung conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan rather than tending to its direct neighbor Mexico, which is on the verge of becoming a semifailed state due to drug cartel carnage.
 
A brilliant rebuttal to thinkers who suggest that globalism will trump geography, this indispensable work shows how timeless truths and natural facts can help prevent this century’s looming cataclysms.

Praise for The Revenge of Geography
 
“[An] ambitious and challenging new book . . . [The Revenge of Geography] displays a formidable grasp of contemporary world politics and serves as a powerful reminder that it has been the planet’s geophysical configurations, as much as the flow of competing religions and ideologies, that have shaped human conflicts, past and present.”—Malise Ruthven, The New York Review of Books
 
“Robert D. Kaplan, the world-traveling reporter and intellectual whose fourteen books constitute a bedrock of penetrating exposition and analysis on the post-Cold War world . . . strips away much of the cant that suffuses public discourse these days on global developments and gets to a fundamental reality: that geography remains today, as it has been throughout history, one of the most powerful drivers of world events.”—The National Interest
 
“Kaplan plunges into a planetary review that is often thrilling in its sheer scale . . . encyclopedic.”—The New Yorker
 
“[The Revenge of Geography] serves the facts straight up. . . . Kaplan’s realism and willingness to face hard facts make The Revenge of Geography a valuable antidote to the feel-good manifestoes that often masquerade as strategic thought.”—The Daily Beast


From the Hardcover edition.
在走遍世界盡頭之後,卡普蘭將回到出生之地

省思在中國崛起的今天,這座「西進的帝國」將如何面對未來的挑戰


◆美國前國務卿季辛吉、《不平靜的太平洋》作者溫契斯特、「冷戰史泰斗」蓋迪斯等一致盛讚

◆《外交政策》雜誌「全球百大思想家」,《世界的盡頭》、《南中國海》、《地理的復仇》、《歐洲暗影》作者


《西進的帝國》以洗鍊而動人的文筆描繪從東岸到西岸的美國地景,檢驗形塑美國國力的地理特質,為美國外交政策提供貼近草根現實的思考架構。


相較於卡普蘭先前的地緣戰略論述,《西進的帝國》較具個人色彩,結合親情、回憶、鄉土情懷、愛國意識,以及個人知識體系的養成,從略具自傳性質的手法、深具抒情風格的文筆,審思美國的地位與未來。


青年時期經常奔赴美國各地進行採訪報導的卡普蘭,回顧兒時與父親四處遊歷的情景,以及當卡車司機的父親描述年輕時驅車穿梭在美國大地的故事。年幼的他已經領略到《讀者文摘》一篇故事中的父親在攜家西行時所說的「征服洛磯山」這句話的意義,那是由東往西穿越美洲大陸的旅人體會到的心境,也是美國先民開拓精神的一種寫照。


二○一五年春,作者從麻薩諸塞州自家出發,展開為期一個多月的泛美公路之旅,從東部的「垂直地景」(人口稠密區往上空發展的地景,較為閉鎖而缺乏開闊視野)馳向西部天高水長的「水平地景」。這也是作者在踏遍「世界的盡頭」之後,將畢生思索凝聚在美國大地上的一趟終極旅程。但這次他的角色不是單純的旅人,也不是在做新聞報導,而是帶著分析家的眼光,以及悄悄聆聽眾人聲音的耳朵,總結他對美國地理及歷史人文的思考,細緻分析地理因素(緯度、水文、陸地與海洋的配置、土地特性等等)對美國命運及國家投射力所造成的影響。


美國東、西各接鄰世界兩大洋,左摟歐非,右擁亞澳;密西西比河流向加勒比海,為美國開啟通往大西洋與太平洋(經由巴拿馬運河)的門徑,塑造大國命運。而美國之所以在二十世紀享有無人能望其項背的力量,一大部分是發揮先人由東往西開拓,發揮「征服落磯山」那種打天下的精神所獲的成果。


本書的撰述目的是透過一些獨特的視角,如父親年輕時的旅行記憶,歷史學者的「希望地理學」,遼闊無邊的北美荒原,以及朝中國蔓延的大海,描述美國這個世界的巨人。父親的旅行為作者提供無盡靈感;歷史學家建立必要且可操作的論述架構;荒漠代表必須克服的挑戰;西側汪洋則象徵美國的對外關係,一方面承載美國的國際責任,一方面也隱約預示不斷往西行進的巨人身影最終將在那裡逐漸消解。


在這個消解過程中,作者期許美國憑藉地理賦予的優勢,及其所造就出的影響力,在二十一世紀錯綜複雜的國際局勢中持續發揮正面的制衡力量。


【各界讚譽】


《西進的帝國》一書出色地提醒著美國地理對其戰略所帶來的衝擊。羅柏.卡普蘭最新的作品是本必讀之作,對前一本有關地緣戰略著作做了必要的補充。

——美國前國務卿季辛吉(Henry Kissinger)


《西進的帝國》對於美國向西擴張以填滿我們這片大陸提出了周詳完備、引人入勝,且充分的反省,對於美國在世界上的適切角色的當前爭論,涉及其隨後形成的國家性格反省。這是羅柏.卡普蘭又一本精采傑作。

——美國前中情局局長彼得雷烏斯(David Petraeus)


在這本關於海內外的美國具有智慧、吸引力以及令人難忘的書中,羅柏.卡普蘭給我們了一份大禮。傑佛遜相信我們的國家命運與西部地區有著不可擺脫的關聯;卡普蘭展現出這些年來依然保持的真實情況。

——《美國雄獅》作者、普立茲傳記文學獎得主米珊(Jon Meacham)


羅伯.卡普蘭的所有旅途都必定是令人讚嘆不已的,不過,更為重要的是《西進的帝國》是目前唯一針對橫越美國的作品。一如凱魯亞克(Jack Kerouac)與托克維爾(Alexis de Tocqueville),卡普蘭讓我們以全新的方式見識到這個國家。高度推薦這本經典之作。

——《冷戰》、《喬治.凱南傳》作者、普立茲傳記文學獎得主蓋迪斯(John Lewis Gaddis)


這是本極其精緻、令人振奮、激勵人心,以及全然原創之作……所有的外交官與軍人——所有掌權的美國人或是期待著掌權的美國人——確實都該廣泛地閱讀羅伯.卡普蘭的著作,尤其是這本精練之作。

——《不平靜的太平洋》作者溫契斯特(Simon Winchester)


羅伯.卡普蘭運用了美國獨一無二的地理環境與疆界經驗,以提供美國在這世上角色的一種變換鏡頭,以及一種能捕獲你的想像力的視野。此種讓人耳目一新的方式展現出華府以外地區的想法是在處理已然變化的世界,如何去平衡美國的理想主義和務實主義。《西進的帝國》一書中難能可貴之處照亮了前方的道路。

——美國國防部長馬提斯(James Mattis)




出版社  馬可孛羅 (城邦)

In Mediterranean Winter, Robert D. Kaplan, the bestselling author of Balkan Ghosts and Eastward to Tartary, relives an austere, haunting journey he took as a youth through the off-season Mediterranean. The awnings are rolled up and the other tourists are gone, so the damp, cold weather takes him back to the 1950s and earlier—a golden, intensely personal age of tourism.

Decades ago, Kaplan voyaged from North Africa to Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece, luxuriating in the radical freedom of youth, unaccountable to time because there was always time to make up for a mistake. He recalls that journey in this Persian miniature of a book, less to look inward into his own past than to look outward in order to dissect the process of learning through travel, in which a succession of new landscapes can lead to books and artwork never before encountered.

Kaplan first imagines Tunis as the glow of gypsum lamps shimmering against lime-washed mosques; the city he actually discovers is even more intoxicating. He takes the reader to the ramparts of a Turkish kasbah where Carthaginian, Roman, and Byzantine forts once stood: “I could see deep into Algeria over a rib-work of hills so gaunt it seemed the wind had torn the flesh off them.” In these austere and aromatic surroundings he discovers Saint Augustine; the courtyards of Tunis lead him to the historical writings of Ibn Khaldun.

Kaplan takes us to the fifth-century Greek temple at Segesta, where he reflects on the ill-fated Athenian invasion of Sicily. At Hadrian’s villa, “Shattered domes revealed clouds moving overhead in countless visions of eternity. It was a place made for silence and for contemplation, where you wanted a book handy. Every corner was a cloister. No view was panoramic: each seemed deliberately composed.”

Kaplan’s bus and train travels, his nighttime boat voyages, and his long walks in one archaeological site after another lead him to subjects as varied as the Berber threat to Carthage; the Roman army’s hunt for the warlord Jugurtha; the legacy of Byzantine art; the medieval Greek philosopher Georgios Gemistos Plethon, who helped kindle the Italian Renaissance; twentieth-century British literary writing about Greece; and the links between Rodin and the Croa-
tian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Within these pages are smells, tastes, and the profundity of chance encounters. Mediterranean Winter begins in Rodin’s sculpture garden in Paris, passes through the gritty streets of Marseilles, and ends with a moving epiphany about Greece as the world prepares for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Mediterranean Winter is the story of an education. It is filled with memories and history, not the author’s alone, but humanity’s as well.
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