Lords of the Desert: The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East

Lords of the Desert: The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East

by James Barr


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A path-breaking history of how the United States superseded Great Britain as the preeminent power in the Middle East, with urgent lessons for the present day

We usually assume that Arab nationalism brought about the end of the British Empire in the Middle East — that Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab leaders led popular uprisings against colonial rule that forced the overstretched British from the region.

In Lords of the Desert, historian James Barr draws on newly declassified archives to argue instead that the US was the driving force behind the British exit. Though the two nations were allies, they found themselves at odds over just about every question, from who owned Saudi Arabia's oil to who should control the Suez Canal. Encouraging and exploiting widespread opposition to the British, the US intrigued its way to power — ultimately becoming as resented as the British had been. As Barr shows, it is impossible to understand the region today without first grappling with this little-known prehistory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465050635
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 801,583
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

James Barr is a visiting fellow at King's College London and the author of A Line in the Sand and Setting the Desert on Fire. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Heading For Trouble-1941-1948

1 The Beginning of the End 9

2 The Old Imperialistic Order 25

3 Heading for Trouble 37

4 Sheep's Eyes 54

5 A Pretty Tough Nut 64

6 The Jewish Problem 76

7 Fight for Palestine 95

Part 2 Important Concessions-1947-1953

8 Eggs in One Basket 115

9 Exploring the Wilder Areas 128

10 Going Fifty-Fifty 141

11 An Unfortunate Turn 154

12 Second Fiddle 168

13 Plotting Mosaddeq's Downfall 183

14 The Man in the Arena 193

Part 3 Descent To Suez-1953-1958

15 The Gift of a Gun 213

16 Baghdad Pact 223

17 Overreach 235

18 Ditching Nasser 250

19 A Sort of Jenkins' Ear 263

20 The Suez Miscalculation 276

21 Failed Coups 294

22 The Year of Revolutions 305

Part 4 Clinging On-1957-1967

23 Rebels on the Jebel 321

24 Iraq and Kuwait 335

25 Pandora's Box 347

26 Secret War 361

27 Falling Out 377

Epilogue 393

Acknowledgments 399

Notes 401

Bibliography 429

Index 443

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