The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East


David Hirst - 1977
    Hirst, former Middle East correspondent of the Guardian, traces the origins of the terrible conflict back to the 1880s to show how Arab violence, although often cruel and fanatical, is a response to the challenge of repeated aggression. The Gun and the Olive Branch is an absorbing, potentially controversial, history of the Middle Eastern conflict that is indispensable to anyone with an interest in world politics and by partisans of both sides. This classic and controversial account of the origins of the Middle East conflict returns to print updated with a lengthy introduction that reflects on the course of recent Middle Eastern history -- especially the abortive Israeli-Palestinian peace process and 9/11.

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East


Deborah Amos - 2010
    From Amman to Beirut and Damascus, Deborah Amos follows the impact of one of the great migrations of modern times.The history of the Middle East tells us that one of the greatest problems of the last forty years has been that of a displaced population, angered by their inability to safely return home and resume ownership of their property--as they see it. Now, the pattern has been repeated. A new population of exiles, as large as the Palestinians, has been created.This particular displacement stirs up the historic conflict between Sunni and Shia. More significant even than the creation of colonial nation states a century ago, the alienation of the Sunni middle class has the capacity to cause resounding resentments across the region for generations to come.

Mother, Where's My Country?: Looking for Light in the Darkness of Manipur


Anubha Bhonsle - 2016
    Through the story of Irom Sharmila—on a protest fast since 2000—and many others who have fallen victim to violence or despair or stood up to fight for peace and justice, she shows us an entire society ravaged by insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, corruption and ethnic rivalries. Drawing upon extensive interviews with personnel of the Indian army and intelligence agencies, politicians and bureaucrats, leaders of insurgent groups, Irom Sharmila and her family and ordinary people across Manipur, Anubha Bhonsle has produced a compelling and necessary book on the North East, the Indian state, identity politics and the enormous human cost of conflict.

The Life of Mohammed: The Sira


Bill Warner - 2010
    He was an orphan who rose from poverty to become the first ruler of all of Arabia. He created a new religion, new methods of war and a new political system including a legal code, the Sharia. Mohammed was the world's greatest warrior. Today no one wages war in the name of Caesar, Alexander the Great, Napoleon or any other military leader. However, every year many people die because of Mohammed. After 1400 years, Islam is more powerful than it has ever been. Mohammed said that one day all of the world would live under his rule of law.To understand Islam, you must know the life of Mohammed. Every Muslim's desire is to live a life identical to his. His every word and deed are the perfect model for being a Muslim. Every Muslim is a Mohammedan. The religion of Islam is not about worshiping Allah; it about worshiping Allah exactly as Mohammed did. This book is unique. It is concise, but it is completely authoritative. The reference system allows you to verify all information.

No Worse Enemy: The Inside Story of the Chaotic Struggle for Afghanistan


Ben Anderson - 2011
    Including interviews with military top brass, from commanding officers to General Petreaus himself, this book reveals the disturbing chasm between official rhetoric and the situation on the ground.Informed by more than 300 hours of firsthand frontline footage with the U.S. Marines, documentary filmmaker Anderson (HBO's "The Battle for Marjah") provides a gripping account of the Afghanistan war in Helmand province.

On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation


Oliver Stone - 2011
    He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London.OLIVER STONE has directed, among other films, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, W., World Trade Center, Alexander, Any Given Sunday, Nixon, Natural Born Killers, Heaven and Earth, JFK, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July, Talk Radio, Wall Street, Platoon, Salvador, and the documentaries Looking for Fidel, Comandante, Persona Non Grata, South of the Border, and the upcoming The Untold History of the United States series for Showtime.

Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan


Scott Horton - 2017
    I highly recommend this excellent book on America’s futile and self-defeating occupation of Afghanistan.” — Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower and author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner“The real story of the disastrous U.S. war in Afghanistan must be written so that future generations may understand the folly of Washington’s warmongers. Scott Horton’s Afghan war history is an important contribution to this vital effort.” — Ron Paul, M.D., former U.S. congressman and author of Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity“Scott Horton’s, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, is a definitive, authoritative and exceptionally well-resourced accounting of America’s disastrous war in Afghanistan since 2001. Scott’s book deserves not just to be read, but to be kept on your shelf, because as with David Halberstam’s The Best and Brightest or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie, I expect Horton’s book to not just explain and interpret a current American war, but to explain and interpret the all too predictable future American wars, and the unavoidable waste and suffering that will accompany them.” — Capt. Matthew Hoh, USMC (ret.), former senior State Department official, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy“Fool’s Errand is a hidden history of America’s forgotten war, laid bare in damning detail. Scott Horton masterfully retells the story of America’s failed intervention, exposes how Obama’s troop surge did not bring Afghanistan any closer to peace, and warns that the conflict could go on in perpetuity — unless America ends the war. As Trump threatens to send more troops to Afghanistan, Horton shows why the answer to a brutal civil war is not more war, which makes Fool’s Errand a scintillating and sorely needed chronicle of the longest war in American history.” — Anand Gopal, journalist and author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes“Scott Horton’s new book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan has a title that tells you where it is going, but to think that is all it is about would be to sell short a comprehensive work that takes the reader on a long journey starting in the 1980s. Indeed, if there were a university course on what went wrong with Afghanistan, starting with Ronald Reagan’s Holy Warriors and continuing with George W. Bush’s ouster of the Taliban leading to 15 years of feckless nation building, this book could well serve as the textbook. Horton provides insights into key decision-making along the way as he meticulously documents the dreadful series of misadventures that have brought us to the latest surge, which will fail just like all the others. The book is highly recommended both for readers who already know a lot about Afghanistan as well as for those who want to learn the basics about America’s longest war.” — Philip Giraldi, former CIA and DIA officer, executive director of the Council for the National Interest

The Syrian Rebellion


Fouad Ajami - 2012
    Focusing on the similarities and differences in skills between former dictator Hafez al-Assad and his successor son, Bashar, Ajami explains how an irresistible force clashed with an immovable object: the regime versus people who conquered fear to challenge a despot of unspeakable cruelty.

We Will Not Go to Tuapse: From the Donets to the Oder with the Legion Wallonie and 5th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade 'Wallonien' 1942-45


Fernand Kaisergruber - 2016
    However, it also ventures far beyond the usual soldier's story and approaches a travelogue of the Eastern Front campaign, seldom attained by the memoirs of the period. His self-published book in French is highly regarded by Belgian historian and expert on these volunteers Eddy de Bruyne, and Battle of Cherkassy author Douglas Nash. This book merits attention as the SS volunteer equivalent of Guy Sajer’s The Forgotten Soldier, a bestseller in the USA and Europe. By comparison, Kaisergruber’s story has the advantage of being completely verifiable by documents and serious historical narratives already published, such as Eddy de Bruyne’s For Rex and for Belgium and Kenneth Estes' European Anabasis.Until recent years, very little was known of the tens of thousands of foreign nationals from Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain who served voluntarily in the military formations of the German Army and the German Waffen-SS. In Kaisergruber’s book, the reader discovers important issues of collaboration, the apparent contributions of the volunteers to the German war effort, their varied experiences, their motives, the attitude of the German High Command and bureaucracy, and the reaction to these in the occupied countries. The combat experiences of the Walloons echoed those of the very best volunteer units of the Waffen-SS, although they shared equally in the collapse of the Third Reich in May, 1945.Although unapologetic for his service, Kaisergruber makes no special claims for the German cause and writes not from any postwar apologia and dogma, but instead from his firsthand observations as a young man experiencing war for the first time, extending far beyond what had been imaginable at the time. His observations of fellow soldiers, commanders, Russian civilians and the battlefields prove poignant and telling. They remain as fresh as when he first wrote some of them down in his travel diary, ‘Pensées fugitives et Souvenirs (1941–46)’. Fernand Kaisergruber draws upon his contemporary diaries, those of his comrades and his later work with them while secretary of their postwar veteran's league to present a thoroughly engaging epic.

Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic


Ray Takeyh - 2006
    The United States and Iran have long eyed each other with suspicion, all too eager to jump to conclusions and slam the door. What gets lost along the way is a sense of what is actually happening inside Iran and why it matters. With a new hard-line Iranian president making incendiary pronouncements and pressing for nuclear developments, the consequences of not understanding Iran have never been higher. Ray Takeyh, a leading expert on Iran's politics and history, has written a groundbreaking book that demystifies the Iranian regime and shows how the fault lines of Iran's domestic politics serve to explain its behavior. In Hidden Iran, he explains why this country has so often confounded American expectations and why its outward hostility does not necessarily preclude the normalization of relations. Through a clearer understanding of the competing claims of Muslim theology, republican pragmatism, and factional competition, he offers a new paradigm for managing our relations with this rising power.

الخوف من البرابرة: ما وراء صدام الحضارات


Tzvetan Todorov - 2009
    A growing immigrant population and worries about cultural and political assimilation—exacerbated by terrorist attacks in the United States, Europe, and around the world—have provoked reams of commentary from all parts of the political spectrum, a frustrating majority of it hyperbolic or even hysterical.In The Fear of Barbarians, the celebrated intellectual Tzvetan Todorov offers a corrective: a reasoned and often highly personal analysis of the problem, rooted in Enlightenment values yet open to the claims of cultural difference. Drawing on history, anthropology, and politics, and bringing to bear examples ranging from the murder of Theo van Gogh to the French ban on headscarves, Todorov argues that the West must overcome its fear of Islam if it is to avoid betraying the values it claims to protect. True freedom, Todorov explains, requires us to strike a delicate balance between protecting and imposing cultural values, acknowledging the primacy of the law, and yet strenuously protecting minority views that do not interfere with its aims. Adding force to Todorov's arguments is his own experience as a native of communist Bulgaria: his admiration of French civic identity—and Western freedom—is vigorous but non-nativist, an inclusive vision whose very flexibility is its core strength.The record of a penetrating mind grappling with a complicated, multifaceted problem, The Fear of Barbarians is a powerful, important book—a call, not to arms, but to thought.

War Without End: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for a Promised Land


Anton LaGuardia - 2002
    Statesmen tinker with peace plans for the Middle East and generals worry about future wars there. Religious leaders stoke the violent passions of the devout while pilgrims flock to find God and archaeologists dig to find the origins of His revelations. All this goes on under the watchful eye of an army of reporters, observers, diplomatic envoys, and aid workers.Between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, dreams and ideals collide with the reality of violent nationalist struggle, and God's name is invoked in defense of the jealousies of men. With the experienced journalist's eye for irony, anecdote, and telling detail, Anton La Guardia offers an intimate look into the Israelis as they come to terms with the "post-Zionist" demolition of national myths, and the Palestinians as they try to build their own state. A classic in the making, War Without End is the definitive book on Israel and her people.

World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism


Norman Podhoretz - 2007
    Now, in this provocative and powerfully argued book, he takes on the most controversial issue of our time—the war against the global network of terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Gaza: Stay Human


Vittorio Arrigoni - 2009
    He was there during the Operation 'Cast Lead' and so his daily dispatches came directly from the killing fields of Gaza, and are therefore free of any media distortion or manipulation."—Ilan Pappé, professor of history, University of ExeterAn authoritative and deeply moving eyewitness account of the terrible twenty-two-day Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009. These daily dispatches were written in precarious conditions, between bombing raids and intermittent Internet access. Vittorio Arrigoni ends his dispatches with the plea "stay human," which became the motto of the peace protests in his native Italy. This English translation is updated with new entries reflecting on life in Gaza after the offensive and also features an introduction by famous Israeli historian Ilan Pappé.Vittorio Arrigoni was an internationally renowned human rights activist who served as a volunteer with the pacifist International Solidarity Movement and worked closely with fishermen and farmers in Gaza. During the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip in 2008-9, Arrigoni acted as a human shield while working with the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances. Working as a freelance journalist for the Italian daily Il Manifesto, Arrigoni’s daily dispatches, written between bombing raids and patchy internet access, ended with the plea, "stay human," which became the motto of the anti-Israeli peace protests in his native Italy. His authoritative and deeply moving eyewitness account was later published in 2010 in Italian, French, German, and English, which the historian Ilan Pappé described as the "account of an everyman and a true humanist." On April 14, 2011, Arrigoni was kidnapped and brutally murdered by militants in Gaza, which caused an international outcry and was unanimously condemned by Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority.

Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West


David Rieff - 1995
    Slaughterhouse is the definitive explanation of a war that will be remembered as the greatest failure of Western diplomacy since the 1930s. Bosnia was more than a human tragedy. It was the emblem of the international community's failure and confusion in the post-Cold War era. In Bosnia, genocide and ethnic fascism reappeared in Europe for the first time in fifty years. But there was no will to confront them, either on the part of the United States, Western Europe, or the United Nations, for which the Bosnian experience was as catastrophic and demoralizing as Vietnam was for the United States. It is the failure and its implications that Rieff anatomizes in this unforgiving account of a war that might have been prevented and could have been stopped.