28th out of 53 books — 14 voters
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Faisal I of Iraq
Born in 1883, King Faisal I of Iraq was a seminal figure not only in the founding of the state of Iraq but also in the making of the modern Middle East. In all the tumult leading to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of new Arab states, Faisal was a central player. His life traversed each of the important political, military, and intellectual devel ...more
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Yale University Press
(first published January 1st 2014)
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This is the most challenging book I have ever read to completion. It took me months to finish. It required a consistent steady effort in order to keep the characters and chronology in my mind. In other words, my original approach of reading a few pages here and there did not work for me. Eventually I made the commitment to read only this book (I usually read three at a time). I put the other two books aside and made the press to finish this book. Why would I work so hard to finish a book? For ye ...more
This book is an incredible history of the Middle East during and after World War I. It is the fist time that I have really gained an understanding of the Arab Revolt, T. E. Lawrence, and the things like the Sykes-Picot Treaty and the Balfour Declaration. It is nice to get these things in biographical form. The book is by an Arab speaker so has many sources not available beforehand. The book is clearly favorable to the subject and sympathetic to him. And dotes more on history than his personal li ...more
From a middle eastern scholar and politician who has fully exploited the archives in multiple languages, this is a massive biography of one of the region's seminal power players, from his time in the Ottoman parliament, a thoroughly unromanticized campaign with T.E. Lawrence, wrangling constituencies and great powers around the Faisal–Weizmann agreement, the Cairo Conference, the Druze uprising, British manipulation of the map and kingmaking and the roots of so many of the problems that still pl ...more