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Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite
     

Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite

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by Robert D. Kaplan
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Mary Carroll
Kaplan turns his attention to the myths and realities of the State Department's Arabists: "men and women . . . who read and speak Arabic and who have passed many years of their professional lives . . . in the Arab world." Tracing the origins of the Arabist tradition to the Protestant missionary families who established schools and hospitals during the nineteenth century in Beirut, Cairo, eastern Turkey, western Iran, and the Saudi peninsula, Kaplan contrasts the idealism of Americans' initial involvements with the Arab world with the imperial machinations of "sand-mad Englishmen" such as T. E. Lawrence. After World War II, Arabists whose families had lived in the Middle East for generations hoped for stronger ties between the U.S. and the young Arab nations; however, the cold war and U.S. support for Israel dashed their hopes. "The Arabists" blends graceful, empathetic portraits of specific individuals with succinct descriptions of developing trends in U.S. politics and diplomacy and Mideast relations up to the Gulf War. A thoughtful, reflective analysis of a subject painfully immersed in controversy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439108703
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
07/01/1995
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
852,787
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

 
Robert D. Kaplan is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington and a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly. He was recently the Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. His twelve previous books include Balkan Ghosts, Eastward to Tartary, and Warrior Politics. He is a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.

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Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the casual reader, 'The Arabists' is an interesting and readable window into a little-known subset of the U.S. foreign policy community. If you happen to work with or in this community, the book is useful historical background; the day of the Arabist elite is over, but some of its attitudes and customs linger.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of few books written with a detailed knowledge of the complexities of the American-Arabic relations and with a genuine and honest attitude to this great culture.Its certainely the attitude America needs to take to establish peace not only in the middle east but also here in America in the years to come.A vision based on fairness and objectivity and free from all the jewish lobby that poison our foriegn policy.