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Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present

by Michael B. Oren

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1,0561419,832 (3.86)28
From the first cannonballs fired by American warships at North African pirates to the conquest of Falluja by the Marines--from the early American explorers who probed the sources of the Nile to the diplomats who strove for Arab-Israeli peace--the United States has been dramatically involved in the Middle East. For well over two centuries, American statesmen, merchants, and missionaries, both men and women, have had a profound impact on the shaping of this crucial region. Yet their story has never been told until now. Drawing on thousands of government documents and personal letters, featuring original maps and over sixty photographs, this book reconstructs the diverse and remarkable ways in which Americans have interacted with this alluring yet often hostile land stretching from Morocco to Iran, from the Persian Gulf to the Bosporus.--From publisher description.Includes information on Adams colony, Afghanistan, Algiers, Muhammad Ali, al Qaeda, Anatolia, Arabism, Arab Israeli conflict, Arab nationalism, Arab Revolt, Yasser Arafat, Armenia, Bahrain, William Bainbridge, Balfour Declaration, Barbary States, Barbary Wars, David Ben-Gurion, Osama bin Laden, Louis Brandeis, Bulgaria, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Charles Chaille-Long, Winston Churchill, U.S. Civil War, Bill Clinton, Cold War, U.S. Congress, Charles Crane, Jefferson Davis, Stephen Decatur, U.S. Democratic Party, David F. Dorr, William Eaton, Egypt, Egypt Civil War, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Bethune English, Pliny Fisk, France, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Golan Heights, Ulysses S. Grant, Great Britain, Greece, Gulf War of 1991, Haganah, Hassan (Dey of Algiers), Theodore Herzl, Hizbollah (Party of God), Hollywood, Holocaust, Edward Mandell House, Saddam Hussein, ibn Saud (Abd al-Aziz King of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Ismaʾil (Khedive of Egypt, Israel, Italy, Andrew Jackson, Japan, Thomas Jefferson, Jerusalem, Jewish national home concept, Jews, Jordan, John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Kuwait, Robert Lansing, League of nations, Lebanon, John Ledyard, Libya, Abraham Lincoln, William Wing Loring, William Francis Lynch, James Madison, Alfred Thayer Mahan, manifest destiny, Maronites, U.S. Mediterranean Squadron, Golda Meir, Herman Melville, Mesopotamia, Mexico, missionaries, missionary movement, Henry Morgenthau, Morocco, Muhammad Mossadegh, Gamal Abdul Nasser, U.S. Navy, New York Times (newspaper), Richard M. Nixon, oil, oil industry,Ottoman Empire, Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Levi Parsons, Persia, USS Philadelphia (frigate), David Porter, Protestantism, Muammar Qadhafi, Yusuf Qaramanli (Pasha of Tripoli), Quran (Koran), Yitzhak Rabin, Ahmad Ben Muhammad al Raisuli, Ronald Reagan, restorationism, U.S. Republican Party, Robert college, Edward Robinson, Franklin d. Roosevelt, Imperial Russia, Anwar Sadat, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Senate, September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, William Henry Seward, William Tecumseh Sherman, Six Day War, Sixth Fleet, slavery, slave trade, Soviet Union, U.S. State Department, Suez Canal, Syria, terrorism, A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Operation Torch, Tripoli, Harry S. Truman, Tunis, Turkey, Mark Twain, United Nations, United States Ottoman relations, Vietnam War, Wahhabism, U.S. War Department, War of 1812, chaim Weizman, West Bank, William Westermann, White Paper, Woodrow Wilson, Worldʾs Columbian Exposition of 1893, World War I, World War II, Yom Kippur War, Zion, Zionists, etc.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Power, Faith and Fan­tasy: Amer­ica in the Mid­dle East, 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren is a study of the rela­tion­ship the United States had towards the Mid­dle East since its incep­tion. Mr. Oren is an Israeli born author and his­to­rian who sev­ered as an amabas­sodor to the United States from 2009 to 2013.

Power, Faith and Fan­tasy: Amer­ica in the Mid­dle East, 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren is a very long book in which the authors makes his case about the impor­tant role the US played, and still plays, in the Mid­dle East as well as the way the Islamic Mid­dle East played a role in cre­ated the mighty Amer­i­can mil­i­tary. The threats from the Mid­dle East not only played a role in cre­at­ing a strong army to defend the bor­ders of the US, but also its inter­ests abroad.

The book states that the poli­cies towards Mid­dle East has been coher­ent in the 18th Cen­tury, but now they are a mess, as is the region itself. Mr. Oren does a fine job observ­ing neu­tral­ity through­out the book, espe­cially on con­tentious issues, quot­ing pol­icy mak­ers and care­ful not to take a stand himself.

Besides objec­tive his­tory, Mr. Oren also writes about the per­son­al­i­ties involved, includ­ing lit­tle anec­dotes which always make his­tory fun. It was amaz­ing for me to read how much Chris­t­ian restora­tionism has influ­enced Amer­i­can pol­icy before World War II and how the AIPAC has influ­enced pol­icy afterwards.

The book is big on details, but the nar­ra­tive is enter­tain­ing and inter­est­ing. I applaud the author for going through, what seems like, a fan­tas­tic amount of research through pri­mary sources and gov­ern­men­tal records.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com ( )
  ZoharLaor | May 3, 2016 |
I read this book to learn about the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. I did, thanks to Oren's research, narrative style and clear thesis, that the realities of power, the strength of religious forces in America and the fantasies of the area exposed by Edward Said are the key influences on the U.S. interactions with the peoples of the Middle East. Oren deftly relates the trade and other relations between the newly independent United States and the Maghrib states of Morocco, Algiers, etc. at the close of the eighteenth century. He continues with the struggle against the Barbary States in the early nineteenth century and the opening of relations with the Ottoman Empire. Oren's history filled in lots of gaps in my knowledge and clarified my understanding--he was particularly good on American Zionism and the rather strange ambivalence so many American political leaders seemed to have toward Jews. Lots of strengths to this book, and it seems to be the only comprehensive book on its subject. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Long book arguing that the three themes/concepts have structured American reactions to and interventions in the Middle East, a thesis broad enough that it’s pretty hard to imagine falsifying it. Basically, our policies were a lot more coherent in the eighteenth century, and it’s such a mess now that all we’ve got left is hoping that our relations magically improve. ( )
  rivkat | Nov 30, 2010 |
The threat of an armed Islamic Middle East played an important role as an impetus towards creating a strong American military force. It is not surprising that the song lyrics state: "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli." Jefferson's administration had to confront the challenge to the emerging nation's weakness and inability to defend itself against foreign enemies. As stated by Michael Oren: "A threat from the Middle East had played a concrete role in creating a truly United States, a consolidated nation capable of defending not only its borders at home but its vital economic interests overseas" (pp. 31-32).
  gmicksmith | Aug 14, 2010 |
This is one I'll be buying, because it's not a fast read. But definitely interesting. ( )
  KApplebaum | Jan 17, 2010 |
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From the first cannonballs fired by American warships at North African pirates to the conquest of Falluja by the Marines--from the early American explorers who probed the sources of the Nile to the diplomats who strove for Arab-Israeli peace--the United States has been dramatically involved in the Middle East. For well over two centuries, American statesmen, merchants, and missionaries, both men and women, have had a profound impact on the shaping of this crucial region. Yet their story has never been told until now. Drawing on thousands of government documents and personal letters, featuring original maps and over sixty photographs, this book reconstructs the diverse and remarkable ways in which Americans have interacted with this alluring yet often hostile land stretching from Morocco to Iran, from the Persian Gulf to the Bosporus.--From publisher description.Includes information on Adams colony, Afghanistan, Algiers, Muhammad Ali, al Qaeda, Anatolia, Arabism, Arab Israeli conflict, Arab nationalism, Arab Revolt, Yasser Arafat, Armenia, Bahrain, William Bainbridge, Balfour Declaration, Barbary States, Barbary Wars, David Ben-Gurion, Osama bin Laden, Louis Brandeis, Bulgaria, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Charles Chaille-Long, Winston Churchill, U.S. Civil War, Bill Clinton, Cold War, U.S. Congress, Charles Crane, Jefferson Davis, Stephen Decatur, U.S. Democratic Party, David F. Dorr, William Eaton, Egypt, Egypt Civil War, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Bethune English, Pliny Fisk, France, Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Golan Heights, Ulysses S. Grant, Great Britain, Greece, Gulf War of 1991, Haganah, Hassan (Dey of Algiers), Theodore Herzl, Hizbollah (Party of God), Hollywood, Holocaust, Edward Mandell House, Saddam Hussein, ibn Saud (Abd al-Aziz King of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Ismaʾil (Khedive of Egypt, Israel, Italy, Andrew Jackson, Japan, Thomas Jefferson, Jerusalem, Jewish national home concept, Jews, Jordan, John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Kuwait, Robert Lansing, League of nations, Lebanon, John Ledyard, Libya, Abraham Lincoln, William Wing Loring, William Francis Lynch, James Madison, Alfred Thayer Mahan, manifest destiny, Maronites, U.S. Mediterranean Squadron, Golda Meir, Herman Melville, Mesopotamia, Mexico, missionaries, missionary movement, Henry Morgenthau, Morocco, Muhammad Mossadegh, Gamal Abdul Nasser, U.S. Navy, New York Times (newspaper), Richard M. Nixon, oil, oil industry,Ottoman Empire, Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Levi Parsons, Persia, USS Philadelphia (frigate), David Porter, Protestantism, Muammar Qadhafi, Yusuf Qaramanli (Pasha of Tripoli), Quran (Koran), Yitzhak Rabin, Ahmad Ben Muhammad al Raisuli, Ronald Reagan, restorationism, U.S. Republican Party, Robert college, Edward Robinson, Franklin d. Roosevelt, Imperial Russia, Anwar Sadat, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Senate, September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, William Henry Seward, William Tecumseh Sherman, Six Day War, Sixth Fleet, slavery, slave trade, Soviet Union, U.S. State Department, Suez Canal, Syria, terrorism, A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Operation Torch, Tripoli, Harry S. Truman, Tunis, Turkey, Mark Twain, United Nations, United States Ottoman relations, Vietnam War, Wahhabism, U.S. War Department, War of 1812, chaim Weizman, West Bank, William Westermann, White Paper, Woodrow Wilson, Worldʾs Columbian Exposition of 1893, World War I, World War II, Yom Kippur War, Zion, Zionists, etc.

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