King Hussein of Jordan: A Political Lifeby Nigel Ashton
In this fascinating biography Nigel Ashton tells the story of King Hussein of Jordan (reigned 1953-99), who survived would-be coups, assassination attempts and constant regional instability to become one of the world's most loved and respected-statesmen. Writing-with unprecedented access to Hussein's private papers, Ashton brings to life Hussein's complex
In this fascinating biography Nigel Ashton tells the story of King Hussein of Jordan (reigned 1953-99), who survived would-be coups, assassination attempts and constant regional instability to become one of the world's most loved and respected-statesmen. Writing-with unprecedented access to Hussein's private papers, Ashton brings to life Hussein's complex relationships with fellow leaders from Yasser Arafat to Ronald Reagan-and his many years of covert dialogue with Israeli politicians, culminating in the historic 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.
'Ashton has provided Middle East watchers with a valuable quarry of material and insights into the life of a ruler who was dealt a weak political hand yet played it with remarkable skill.' — Alan Munro, Middle East International
In this respectful and measured scholarly evaluation, Ashton (Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War) builds on unprecedented access to the late king's entire correspondence and more than two dozen interviews to lend valuable insight into how Hussein's shrewdness and empathy kept him politically (and literally) alive as well as casting light on many a foreign policy enigma-notably a confirmation that Ronald Regan personally authorized what became the Iran-Contra scandal. While Hussein's uneasy alliance with the socialist brand of Arab nationalism under Egypt's Nasser led him into "the greatest calamity of his reign," the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel, he remained "ever alert to the shifting power dynamics of the Arab world," often maintaining a precarious balance between the Western powers, the Arab states and Israelwhile wielding influence disproportionate to Jordan's relatively modest assets. Ashton reveals Hussein's longstanding covert contact with Israel and his clandestine communications with Israelis in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 warto suggest the possibilities and missed opportunities (including by the U.S.) for a peaceful settlement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict-just one reason this book feels so timely and relevant. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Ashton provides a respectful and highly credible political biography." —Middle East Journal
"Excellent. . . . Ashton is very interesting on Hussein's relations with Iraq and the wider Arab world."—Patrick Cockburn, New York Times Book Review
"Ashton offers a great deal of material to flesh out Hussein's relations with world leaders, the Arab world and Israel, over more than 40 years. It's an elegantly written, engaging narrative. . . . His biography is a valuable contribution to understanding the background of the modern Middle East."—Gila Wertheimer, Chicago Jewish Star
"A very lucid and careful work. . . . Ashton's crucial contribution—besides his innate fairness—is the sudden and unfettered access he gained to the hitherto closed Royal Hashemite Archives."—Colin Thubron, New York Review of Books
- Yale University Press
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- 5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Meet the Author
Nigel Ashton is senior lecturer, Department of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science, and author of Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War.
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