In this masterly work of synthesis, Peter Mansfield, drawing on his experience as a journalist and a historian, explores two centuries of history in the Middle East. He forms a pict ure of the historical, political, and social history of the meeting point of Occident and Orient, from Bonaparte's marauding invasion of Egypt to the start of the Gulf War.
For more than four thousand years, the Middle East has provided a setting for titanic struggles between great civilizations and religions. In this century it became the focus of rivalry between the European powers as the last major Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks crumbled and collapsed. The discovery of the world's greatest oil reserves gave the region global economic importance as well as a unique strategic value. The foundation of a national state by immigrant Zionist Jews created one of the most insoluble political problems of our era, which is compounded by the reassertion of Islamic consciousness among the great majority of the region's inhabitants. In two penetrating final chapters, Peter Mansfield discusses Saddam Hussein and the prospects for the future.
Brown is professor of history at the University of Connecticut.
Mansfield is a general practitioner and avid organic gardener.