Empire of Sand: How Britain Shaped the Middle Eastby Walter Reid
At the end of the First World War the modern Middle East was created by Britain and France, who carved up the old Ottoman possessions with scant regard for the wishes of those who lived there. Frontiers were devised and alien dynasties imposed on the populations as arbitrarily as in medieval times. It was destined from the outset to failure. Promises had been made to the Arabs during the War, but were not honored, and brief hopes for Arab unity were dashed, leading to a bitter belief in western perfidy that persists to the present day.
Britain was quick to see the riches promised by the black pools of oil that lay on the ground around Baghdad, and when France too grasped their importance, bitter differences opened up between the two allies, and the areas became a focus of a return to the traditional enmity between them.
With reference to a huge amount of primary and secondary sources, Walter Reid explores Britain’s role in the creation of the modern Middle East and the rise of Zionism, from the early years of the twentieth century to 1948, when Britain handed over Palestine to UN control – a process from which has flowed much of the instability of the region and of the worldwide tensions that threaten the 21st century.
Walter Reid studied at the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh, and has written a number of highly acclaimed works of military history: To Arras, 1917 (Tuckwell Press, 2003), Architect of Victory: Douglas Haig (Birlinn 2006) and Churchill 1940 –1945: Under Friendly Fire (Birlinn, 2008).
“[Reid] is judicious; his very capable prose just begs to be read.” —Michael Nye, Scotsman
- Birlinn, Limited
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Meet the Author
Walter Reid is the author of a number of highly acclaimed works of military and political history, including Architect of Victory: Douglas Haig; Arras, 1917; and Churchill 1940–1945: Under Friendly Fire.
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