A Peace to End All Peace Back

A Peace to End All Peace

The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East
by David Fromkin, Avon Books December 1990
If you want to read just one book on World War One and the Middle East, this is it. Fromkin dissects the events before, during and after hostilities with precision, and clarifies a confusing subject. The details lurking in the shadows are suddenly illuminated for inspection, chapter by chapter, as he explores the preliminary sparring, the war itself, and its aftermath. Starting with Churchill?s seizure of two Turkish warships being built in British shipyards, the early setbacks when the Turks were dominant, and on to the back-stabbing Sykes Picot agreement this book does much to explain today?s realities.
Today, we have fighting in the streets of Jerursalem and anger on the part of the Palestinians clashing with Jewish determination to fight back. It is important to remember when there was a time when the people of the Middle East paid homage to the Turks who ruled them. At the beginning on World War One, Syria, Palestine, and modern-day Iraq were all under the sway of the Ottoman Empire, and had been for the previous 4 centuries. Within less than 4 years, all that changed. The Empire was destroyed, the peoples of the Mid East were set free, and the ?Pax Ottomania? dissolved. In its place came a hankering for spoils that was mitigated by the populace?s desire to make good on the promises made to them. In Palestine, both Jews and Arabs had been offered sovereignty over the land; in reading Fromkin?s book we learn that these promises had been mere expedients to victory.
The Middle East seethes with turmoil and strife. These are the fruits of what was sown during the World War. Books like Fromkin?s help explain the passions of today and the aspirations of the past. This is a very readable, very insightful and highly respected body of work. It is worth both reading and treasuring.

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