Category Archives: Middle East

Book Review: In Distant Lands

In Distant Lands: A Brief History Of The Crusades, by Lars Brownworth What this book offers is mainly a short narrative history of the Crusades. Given that depending on one’s count there are either eight or nine crusades, to cover … Continue reading

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Book Review: Crusader Castles

Crusader Castles: Christian Fortresses In The Middle East, by Brian Hoggard The author of this book makes a strong case for the vital importance of fortification design for the relative longevity of the Crusader states in the Outremer. While we … Continue reading

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Turning The Box Inside Out

There are some parts of the world that appear to continually be problems for nations seeking to expand their control into peripheral regions. For example, the Scottish lowlands and Ulster have long been difficult regions to pacify and control in … Continue reading

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Book Review: Hero: The Life And Legend Of Lawrence Of Arabia

Hero:  The Life And Legend Of Lawrence Of Arabia, by Michael Korda This book, a sprawling effort of about 700 pages, sufficiently demonstrates the difficulty of writing about its subject.  There are a variety of reasons for that–the subject remains … Continue reading

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Book Review: Seven Pillars Of Wisdom: A Triumph

Seven Pillars Of Wisdom:  A Triumph, by T.E. Lawrence This sprawling book of more than 650 pages is evidence simultaneously of the reason why autobiographies cannot be trusted and also why they cannot be rejected out of hand either.  As … Continue reading

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Book Review: Lawrence In Arabia

Lawrence In Arabia:  War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, And The Making Of The Modern Middle East, by Scott Anderson It is probably best not to know how the modern Middle East was made.  This book focuses on a small set of … Continue reading

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If You Had Trust, You Would Not Fear

For the last few days quite a lot of panicky people have talked about their fear that they were about to witness the start of a massive war between the United States and Iran.  While plenty of potentially provocative incidents … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Making Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Making Of The Arab-Israeli Conflict:  1947-1951, by Ilan Pappé If you want to read what a pro-Arab source has to say about the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this book will provide that.  Now, admittedly, my own views of … Continue reading

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Bijî Kurdistan

For some time the Kurds have been a people whose fate I have pondered and reflected upon [1].  And there is good reason for that, several good reasons in fact.  For one, as someone who was born to a family … Continue reading

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Book Review: Caliphate: The History Of An Idea

Caliphate:  The History Of An Idea, by Hugh Kennedy In this day and age where it has become a romantic ideal among at least some Muslims to revive the idea of the Caliphate, this book is a timely and important … Continue reading

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