Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East

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9781594202414: Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East
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An unprecedented history of our involvement in the Middle East that traces our current quandaries there-in Iraq, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere-back to their roots almost a century ago.

Geoffrey Wawro approaches America's role in the Middle East in a fundamentally new way-by encompassing the last century of the entire region, rather than focusing narrowly on a particular country or era. The result is a definitive and revelatory history whose drama, tragedy, and rich irony he relates with unprecedented verve. Wawro combed archives in the United States and Europe and traveled the Middle East to unearth new insights into the hidden motivations, backroom dealing, and outright espionage that shaped some of the most tumultuous events of the last one hundred years. Wawro offers piercing analysis of iconic events from the birth of Israel to the death of Sadat, from the Suez crisis to the energy crisis, from the Six-Day War to Desert One, from Iran-contra to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rise of al- Qaeda. Throughout, he draws telling parallels between America's past mistakes and its current quandaries, proving that we're in today's muddle not just because of our old errors, but because we keep repeating those errors.

America has juggled multiple commitments and conflicting priorities in the Middle East for nearly a century. Strands of idealism and ruthless practicality have alternated- and sometimes run together-in our policy. Quicksand untangles these strands as no history has done before by showing how our strategies unfolded over the entire century and across the entire region. We've persistently misread the intentions and motivations of every major player in the region because we've insisted on viewing them through the lens of our own culture, hopes, and fears. Most administrations since Eisenhower's have adopted their own "doctrine" for the Middle East, and almost every doctrine has failed precisely because it's a doctrine-a template into which events on the ground refuse to fit. Geoffrey Wawro's peerless and remarkably lively history is key to understanding our errors and the Middle East-at last- on its own terms.

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About the Author:

Geoffrey Wawro is the General Olinto Mark Barsanti Professor of Military History and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas. Wawro has hosted many programs on the History Channel and taught for several years at the U.S. Naval War College. He received his B.A. from Brown and his Ph.D. from Yale.

Review:

"A keen-eyed, sweeping survey of . . . U.S. policy in the Middle East since the Balfour Declaration in 1917. . . . An excellent argument for the necessity of careful sifting of historical precedent and error."
-Kirkus Reviews

"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."
-Library Journal

"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."
-Booklist

"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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9780143118831: Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East

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ISBN 10:  0143118838 ISBN 13:  9780143118831
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2011
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