"Lockman's book will be widely read. There can be no doubt that the subject is an important one, not just to those in the field of Middle East Studies, but to the academic community and to a segment of the general public as well. As the book argues, a knowledge of the history of Middle East Studies is vital in assessing arguments put forward by academics, pundits and politicians."
Edmund Burke III, Department of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
"...a well crafted piece of historical synthesis, based on a wide array of secondary sources."
The first half of this book surveys how the West has "imagined" the Middle East from early encounters to the twentieth century. In the second half, Lockman narrows his focus, tracing the American image of the Middle East over the past half-century. One chapter, devoted to the scholarly debate sparked by Edward Said's Orientalism, offers the best available short analysis of the views of Said, Bernard Lewis, and other major thinkers. Other themes include modernization theory, which emerged soon after World War II as a critical determinant of American thought about the Middle East; U.S. governmental support for Middle Eastern studies; and the role of think tanks. Lockman ends with a tough but fair and persuasive critique of Martin Kramer's broadside Ivory Towers in the Sand, which charges that American academic scholarship on the contemporary Middle East gets it all wrong. Most impressive about Lockman's study of these "contending visions," past and present, is the perceptive and fair appraisal he offers of those whose vision he does not share.