The New York Times
Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle Eastby Shareen Blair Brysac, Karl E. Meyer
Kingmakers is the story of how the modern Middle East came to be, told through the lives of the Britons and Americans who shaped it. Some are famous (Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell); some forgotten (Sir Mark Sykes, Israel's godfather, and A. T. Wilson, the territorial creator of Iraq); some controversial (the CIA's Miles Copeland and the Pentagon's Paul
Kingmakers is the story of how the modern Middle East came to be, told through the lives of the Britons and Americans who shaped it. Some are famous (Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell); some forgotten (Sir Mark Sykes, Israel's godfather, and A. T. Wilson, the territorial creator of Iraq); some controversial (the CIA's Miles Copeland and the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz). All helped enthrone rulers in a region whose very name is an Anglo-American invention. This character-driven narrative restores to life the colorful figures who for good or ill gave us the Middle East in which Americans are enmeshed today.
The New York Times
"Eminent Imperialists" might be a better title for this sprightly episodic history of Anglo-American meddling in the Middle East, from the 1882 British invasion of Egypt to the current Iraq War, told through profiles of the officials who spearheaded those policies. Journalists Meyer and Brysac (Tournament of Shadows) spotlight well-known, flamboyant figures like T.E. Lawrence ("of Arabia") and British Arabist Gertrude Bell. But they focus on unsung toilers in the trenches of imperial rule like A.T. Wilson, the British colonial administrator whose idea it was to cobble Iraq together out of three fractious Ottoman provinces, and Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA agent who choreographed the 1953 ouster of Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq. Policy continuities-securing the approaches to India and access to oil-sometimes get overshadowed by the authors' biographical approach, but in a sense that's the point. Their imperialism is marked by idiosyncrasy, improvisation, unforeseen circumstances and unintended-usually tragic-consequences. Policy was very much driven by the personalities who constructed it: their Orientalist enthusiasms, knee-jerk assumptions of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, arcane Straussian precepts and stubborn maverick streaks loom as large as cold geostrategic calculations. The result is a colorful study of empire as a very human endeavor. 30 illus., 2 maps. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.28(w) x 10.50(h) x 1.39(d)
Meet the Author
Shareen Blair Brysac, formerly a prize-winning documentary producer at CBS News, is the author of Resisting Hitler and co-author of Tournament of Shadows and Kingmakers with Karl E. Meyer. The couple lives in New York and Weston, Connecticut.
Karl E. Meyer has written extensively on foreign affairs as a staff member of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
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