➜ [Epub] ❧ Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present By Michael B. Oren ➦ – Saudionline.co.uk

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present quotes Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, litcharts Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, symbolism Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, summary shmoop Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present 7442c6de This Best Selling History Is The First Fully Comprehensive History Of America S Involvement In The Middle East From George Washington To George W Bush As Niall Ferguson Writes, If You Think America S Entanglement In The Middle East Began With Roosevelt And Truman, Michael Oren S Deeply Researched And Brilliantly Written History Will Be A Revelation To You, As It Was To Me With Its Cast Of Fascinating Characters Earnest Missionaries, Maverick Converts, Wide Eyed Tourists, And Even A Nineteenth Century George Bush Power, Faith, And Fantasy Is Not Only A Terrific Read, It Is Also Proof That You Don T Really Understand An Issue Until You Know Its History

10 thoughts on “Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present

  1. says:

    Once again I find myself giving Michael Oren five stars and warning people away from his book Five stars for a thoroughly researched and highly informative read, to be sure But expect a pretty long slog.This ambitious tome describes the interactions between the United States and the Middle East from the point of the United States inception, starting with the Barbary Wars Oren uses the themes of power the U.S wanted control, initially in terms of wanting to pass through the region safe from pirates but gradually in other areas as well , faith the desire on the part of the U.S to missionize in the Middle East and to restore the Jews to their homeland in Palestine for religious reasons , and fantasy the often unrealistic image Americans have had of the Middle East as depicted in the Arabian Nights to categorize the various interactions between the U.S and the Middle East He notes that, although much has changed, all three themes remain relevant to U.S Middle East relations.One of the problems with reading a long and detailed book like this is that it s hard to know how much of the information you ve retained, and will retain over time In the meantime, though, I feel accomplished for having finished it and have a temporary illusion of being a well informed person on this topic That s worth something, I suppose I also think that Obama and other government officials who want insight into the craziness that is the Middle East and some of America s missteps in the region would benefit from reading this book carefully.

  2. says:

    Michael Oren must be a horrible lay I say this because only a horrible lay could take a subject as rife with passion and controversy as America s involvement in the Middle East and make it a mind numbingly dull read.Further, while the book s subtitle is America in the Middle East from 1776 to the Present , Oren only spends the last 20% of the book discussing the last 70 years of history the period in which I was most interested , stating outright that he did so because there are many other books that cover the subject in detail A bit truth in advertising would have helped me adjust my expectations accordingly.Despite this disappointment and the fact that I gave up on the book twice before finishing it, Oren does cover a lot of new historical ground here, and it substantially increased the context in which I form my own thoughts about the Middle East and America s actions there.

  3. says:

    A very superficial, one sided and biased analysis of the United States involvement in the middle east The motivation of the middle eastern people s resistance to the U.S s attempts to exploit the region are never explored Instead, the native people of the middle east are presented as savages that are intent on conflicting with the United States for no particular reason, with the United States motives being portrayed as an altruistic superpower intent on enlightening the world, which is extremely naive.For a better understanding of the middle east, I would recommend the less widely available Sowing the Wind , by John Keay.

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  5. says:

    Few fields have been as well plowed as that of Middle East studies Indeed, the ever expanding shelf in the bookstore on the topic groans under the weight of a torrent of new works, many which might be charitably described as derivative of already existing work What a thrill then when a new book appears covering otherwise undisturbed ground Michael Oren s excellent Power, Faith, and Fantasy America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present is such a book Instead of covering familiar subjects, Mr Oren offers an insightful study of an area few consider, America s relationship to the Middle East in the 19th Century Many will surely wonder at how any author can squeeze than 600 pages not including footnotes and bibliography over a topic that you might suspect could be covered in scant pages Such is the wonderful surprise that Oren offers In gripping prose that will be familiar with those who have already read his definitive history of the Six Day War, Oren traces America s involvement in the Middle East and North Africa all the way back to the Revolutionary War period Philosophically and temperamentally committed to avoiding old world entanglements Thomas Jefferson, first as Washington s Secretary of State and then as President, confronts the question of what to do about American shipping seized by the petty north African Berber and Arab kingdoms The Middle East a lucrative market, European states pay tribute to these states in exchange for protection a notion offensive to many early American statesman Thus, having first resisted the creation of a standing navy, Jefferson reverses course in order to protect American shipping interests Thus begins US involvement in the region The study of this period provides much data of interest To take one example, Oren cites an early treaty with a north African Muslim state, signed when many of the Framers still lived, stating categorically that the United States was not a Christian nation Likewise interesting, the American legation in Tangiers stands as the countries oldest Oren follows the story through the 19th Century and the US involvement with the Ottoman Empire Through it all, he likewise discusses the concept of Restorationism, that a Jewish State should be created in the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, an idea with deep roots in American Protestantism Indeed, readers who think themselves knowledgeable about diplomatic history, Zionism, and the Middle East, will likely find great surprise in learning about American missionary stations built for the very purpose of teaching Jews agricultural skills, well before Theodore Herzl s efforts Marshalling considerable evidence, Oren argues that the US commitment to the notion of a Jewish state indeed far proceeds Israel s birth in 1948 Time and again one hears that America s relationship with Israel arises out of some nefarious political cabal warping national interest, in contrast Oren shows how such the heart of the relationship lies deep in America culture and character Further to his credit, Oren flies through the modern period, ground well covered in other books Many of the issues covered will have a familiar ring to 21st century ears, such as presidents torn between cleaving to stabilizing power or siding with American ideals Indeed, one often finds themselves wishing that Oren wrote prior to the invasion of Iraq, thus giving decision makers some much needed perspective Nonetheless, readers will find themselves thrilled at all they can learn in this important work.

  6. says:

    Since my conversion to Islam than a decade ago, I am wont to approach any book of this subject matter and scope with skepticism While the author Michael B Oren certainly has the credentials for this, he is also Israel s current ambassador to the United States.The section of the book that deals with the nascent United States of the 18th century up to the influences of the then major world powers in the first half of the 20th century seem unassailably objective I honestly expected Mr Oren to try to justify some of the events connected to the creation of the state of Israel, but he simply reports them I was prepared to react with outrage to how the era from World War II to the dawning years of the 21st century was portrayed, but I found it balanced.Given the ongoing strife in the region, its history is still being written.I highly recommend this book for its readability and its scholarship I plan to read Mr Oren s The Six Day War and any future works of his.

  7. says:

    Well written and well researched.However, the book s main weakness is that it doesn t cover the era of the 20th century to today very well Oren excuses himself by saying that plenty of works already exist on the subject, and only writes as much as is needed Arguably, this is the section most readers will be interested in the most, and it, while decent, fails to deliver And besides, the stories of American romantics and adventurers got repetitive and boring after a while, and you start to ask who cares and of what possible significance are they As the book plunges into the 20th century it becomes less adequate Oren explains that he does not feel obligated to give than a brief survey of events in the Cold War and after simply because plenty of works are already availble on the subject Maybe I m being unfair, but this just seems like academic laziness to me But even before the post 1948 survey, the desire to chronicle what happened seems to overwhelm any incisive interpretation The significance of oil in shaping relations and policy is definitely described, but it seems like it deserves a prominent place Also, Oren makes this grand claim in the final pages of the book On balance, Americans historically brought far beneficence than avarice to the Middle East and caused significantly less harm than good Does the history of US relations with Middle Eastern states really support that analysis How would one factor in US bolstering of dictatorial regimes in places like Saudi Arabia Or the overturning of a nationalist Iranian government by the CIA Oren s own history shows how little Americans actually understood about the region and its people, even as they attempted to shape its future It seems unlikely that a basically imperial perspective could also coincidentally be the basis for a good policy that put the people of the Middle East first Oren seems to be falling into the trap that he describes in his book His final judgment oddly seems to reinforce the myths about the American role in the region as a champion of enlightenment It understates how much US policy was driven fundamentally by what all states are driven by strategic interests and demand for economic resources In chapter 5 Oren discusses the Greek revolution of 1821 Oren states that the Greeks were fighting for democracy and the US was in a dilemma between supporting a fledging democracy and its financial interest that depended on good relations with the Ottoman Empire The truth is that the US had very little influence in the region at the time Instead England, France, and Russia were fighting for influence in the new country England won eventually Also the Greek revolution was not for democracy but it had religious and ethnic motives It was a revolt of mostly Greek speaking Orthodox Christians against a Muslim government Early on the Greeks slaughtered all Muslims and Jews in Peloponese Apparently, the slaughter was so extensive that our schoolbooks could not ignore it but described it as a justified over reaction to long centuries of Ottoman suppression In addition, the first governments of Greece were quite autocratic and even constitutional monarchy did not become stable until after 1860 So you may say, does it matter that Oren botched one event Yes, it does There are a couple of significant weaknesses though, not the least of which is a problem with historical accuracy In covering the early history between the U.S and the Barbary States, Mr Oren is correct to categorize Jefferson s conflict as a de facto war, but when looking at the 2nd War he specifically states that Nearly three months passed before he President Madison went to Congress and asked for and promptly received a formal declaration of war The problem is, that there was no formal declaration of war, but rather an authorization to use force This is a rather key difference, and one which makes the reader question just how precise the author is actually being.Another example, albeit less important, is when Mr Oren discusses the national anthem and declares Only after the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 were the lyrics revised by their author Francis Scott Key In fact, the Star Spangled Banner and When the Warrior Returns are two different poems, or sets of lyrics, which Francis Scott Key wrote to the tune of The Anacreon Song a.k.a To Anacreon in Heaven , an old English drinking tune Mr Oren also indicates that the song was written in honor of Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge, but other sources indicate that it was in honor of Charles Stewart and not William Bainbridge.

  8. says:

    I am giving this 3 stars solely based on the amount of information included Here is why it doesn t get a better rating.The book starts with the very interesting Barbary Wars when the United States was brand new It discusses the impacts that the pirates from Northern Africa had on the formation of our Navy and foreign policy.After that there is 200 pages of discussion on missionaries and the schools and hospitals they built This is also somewhat interesting, but I don t think so many of the different missionaries needed to be covered and quoted There was some discussion of how the natives felt about the missionaries, but I would have preferred of that than the elicit descriptions of the actual people and their quotes.This problem persists throughout the book When we arrive at WWI there is a discussion on the discovery of oil and the Americans involved Only one paragraph discusses the small communities that these oil companies created and almost nothing about the Saudi populations reaction Maybe that information doesn t exist, but I am pretty sure it does because I have read about it in other books.The author then covers the last 30 years in about 100 pages, which he explains that there is so much information already available He should have stopped there At times he clearly states where Israel and America have gone against previously stated policies or actions, but then at the end of each chapter he actual makes it seem as though the policy is successful His section on Reagan is the most blatant, Reagan stumbled through the Middle East during his presidency, but at the end he gives Reagan credit.I just think there should have been direct discussion of the impact of the oil companies and criticism of Israel for some of their responses and our failure to pressure them.I am not saying that Michael Oren doesn t try to be unbiased, but I felt in many cases, regardless of the politics details are needed For a 600 page book I shouldn t need to refer to other books.But the thing that bothered me the most was his defense of Israel s assertation after occupying the West Bank and Gaza as just following the Post WWII guidelines The part that is missed is that so much of the problems we face today is because of the restorationist movements existence at all For a book that covers this much history, to act like the first 150 years was just meant to be misses the point of his own book.Also, Michael Oren is currently the Israeli ambassador to the US Take that how you want.

  9. says:

    Everything we all need to know about our relationship with the Middle East if you happen to be American Crucial reading in these times.

  10. says:

    Well that went off the rails quickly I very much enjoyed the majority of this book The last 100 pages or so were a complete waste of time I realized after I had bought the book that the author, Michael Oren, was the Israeli Ambassador to the US between 2009 and 2013 Going to an actual political actor for historical perspective is generally not such a great idea Best to stick to their memoirs, a set of which I believe Oren has recently published But for the majority of the book, I think Oren manages to see beyond the perspective of his country His objectivity was occasionally quite impressive For example, his telling of the events of 1948 doesn t look at Israel s founders through rose tinted glasses, he mentions the terrorism, and he suggests that they were responsible for much of the escalation of the crisis Oren is right that the subject, US relations with the Middle East, deserves a broader survey For most of the book he ably serves up fascinating characters, delightful anecdotes and interesting theories I was impressed by the extent of US influence on the formation of the Egyptian military in the 19th century He doesn t adequately support some of his most interesting suggestions, such as the link between Arab nationalism and US missionary universities, and the threat of Barbary Piracy and the success of the campaign for the US Constitution, but they are interesting things to think about All in all I enjoyed the book, all the way from the Revolution to the end of World War II Beyond that point, pretty much from Israel s founding, the book is basically useless It s an extended apologia endorsement of Israeli policy, and the aspects of US policy that Israel likes There are some interpretations here that were completely new to me Apparently Carter and Clinton weren t all that useful for the big steps forward in the peace process during their administrations, the Israelis already had it handled All those billions of dollars we ve transferred to the Egyptians over the years to keep Camp David alive are apparently an afterthought It s all a bit ridiculous I haven t read an account of the George W Bush s Iraq war this uncritical and glowing since 2005 This book dates from 2007 In Oren s defense, before he embarks on the post 1948 survey, he does mention that it s less useful than the rest of the book His explanation is that the archives aren t open yet, but I think it s also an inability, conscious or unconscious, to see beyond the attitudes and goals he spent his career shaping and pushing I would have given this book a four or five star review if it had ended with World War II There was one other thing I wanted to mention This book shares an emphasis with Simon Sebag Montefiore s Jerusalem book, which I also mostly enjoyed A lot of time is spent covering how undeveloped Palestine was before the Jewish settlers got there Much of the book is made up of the accounts of US travelers to the Holy Land and other areas in the Middle East These are sometimes presented in their own words, sometimes by the author With what feels like every single figure, Oren makes sure to emphasize how crappy they found everything It s carefully couched in tut tuting about those nasty 19th century racists, but I find Oren s protests half hearted He s chosen to present these aspects of these accounts, over and over again, and in preference to other aspects This is a classy way of doing it, but it s also kind of a sneaky way of advancing a troubling claim I often see in pro Israel literature Before Israel, there wasn t really anything there If I recall correctly, Montefiore actually claims in his book that the only reason there are as many Palestinians as there are is because of late 19th and early 20th century development in the area brought about by Jewish settlers This may very well be true And I also buy that Israel has been a better steward of its lands than the Ottomans and the British were before them But I don t like the implications of advancing this claim.Palestine was a mess before Jewish settlement, not because of Jewish virtue but because it was in a pre modern state Centuries of neglect alternating with oppression from the Turks were not going to yield Switzerland If you re going to argue, or just subtly imply, as these historians have, that our guys have a better right to the land because their technology was sophisticated, and they had Imperial might working for them rather than against them, then you ve got to follow the thought through Isn t this just a 21st century burden of the white man s burden Isn t this a sneaky endorsement of 19th century imperialism at it s worst If Palestine should be subjugated for failing to win the game of development, shouldn t all of Africa as well It s thinking like that that brought us to the two largest catastrophes described in this book, World Wars I and II I can forgive Oren for the professionally mandated waste of time that the last part of this book is I m not so sure I can forgive him for seeming to endorse that old timey white man s burden kind of thinking.

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