Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East
By Geoffrey Wawro
America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East
Wawro is a historian whose previous works have focused upon warfare in nineteenth-century Europe; viewers of the History Channel may also recognize him as the telegenic host of Hardcover History and other programs. In this book, Wawro tackles the formidable challenge of writing a comprehensive history of American involvement in the Middle East. In many ways an attempt to explain the historical genesis of the bind in which the U.S. currently finds itself, the authors main narrative threads are the U.S. complicated and often conflicting relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia. All else, he suggests, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and perennial tensions with Iran, is to some extent a collateral consequence of these Israeli and Saudi allegiances. Noting many parallels between past mistakes and present challenges, this selection culminates in an earnest argument for a more coherent and historically honest foreign policy going forward. Its an ambitious project, but Wawros considerable talent for seamlessly blending military, social, and political history (as well as his extensive archival elbow grease) makes it a success. --Brendan Driscoll
"A coherent and highly readable
analysis of America's involvement in the Middle East... Whereas many books have
been written about one Middle East nation or one aspect of this topic, Wawro
successfully provides the big picture."
"An ambitious project, but Wawro's
considerable talent for seamlessly blending military, social, and political
history (as well as his extensive archival elbow grease) makes it a success."
"A bold and comprehensive account
of America's involvement in the Middle East. Quicksand cannot answer the haunting
question posed by General David Petraeus during the 2003 invasion of Iraq-'Tell
me how this ends?'-but Geoffrey Wawro's history does reveal how an extraordinary
tale of idealism, politics, force, and miscalculation began and unfolded over
the past century."
-Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn
"Wawro does a terrific job of
explaining why America's Middle East policy has been so wrongheaded for so long,
and how it has gotten the United States into so much trouble in recent years.
Quicksand should be required reading for everyone in Washington whohas a hand
in formulating policy toward the Arab and Islamic world."
-John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
"Foreign policy is a chief responsibility
of any American president, yet readers of Geoff Wawro's Quicksand will be shocked
by the history he describes- presidents, members of Congress, and lobbyists
who consistently sacrificed statesmanship to expediency, leaving the U.S. stuck
in the Middle Eastern quicksand Wawro so richly describes."
-Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
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