Friday, October 5, 2012

Fromkin on British Diplomatic History and its Role in Understanding Lawrence of Arabia

From time to time, this blog is going to recommend some book or books on a topic.   The goal is to help my readers be so much better informed on important issues that we face every day: from the Indo European language "problem", to deciphering Linear B, from the name of R.E. Lee's horse:  these are topics which we all need to know well in order to live in our modern world.

The recommended book is basically background for the Israel/Palestinian dispute.  It amazes me how many people I know who have strong opinions on this topic and yet do not know much, if anything, about the history of the region and its people.

So since this topic is considered to be one of the top threats to world peace, it seems to me that my well-informed readers would be better off to know a little more about the history, and one particular period is especially relevant, and that is the period right around WWI when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing and the League of Nations assigned Great Britain to partition that region between the different competing groups in a way that could be perceived as "fair".   This is the period when, among other things, the Balfour Declaration happened, when Allenby took Jerusalem, when Jordan was created, Syria was created, Lebanon was created, etc.   What you think is the "always been there" configuration of countries in that part of the middle east was created, out of whole cloth, by the British with a little "help", thats sarcasm by the way, of the French and a few other countries.

The book is David Fromkin's book "A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East".

If nothing else, it will make Lawrence of Arabia all the more interesting when you see it again. And while we are on the subject of Lawrence of Arabia, check out the link below to a web site that goes over this movie in infinite detail.

Die!  Die!

The book:

The analyis of the movie:

No comments:

Post a Comment