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Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  340 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The bestselling author of Overthrow offers a new and surprising vision for rebuilding America's strategic partnerships in the Middle East

What can the United States do to help realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Stephen Kinzer offers a surprising answer in this paradigm-shifting book. Two countries in the region, he argues, are America's logical partne
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Times Books
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Great book about American politics in the Middle East. Focusing especially on Turkey and Iran, Kinzer tells the history of Middle East in the 20th century.Stephen Kinzer is a very experienced journalist who has covered the region for New York Times. Starting in the 19th century and coming to 2010 he tells the story of Middle East and US. Israel and Saudi Arabia has been the main US allies in the the region since the WW2. Kinzer tells us how the world has changed and how US's policies and allies ...more
Some have complained that though this is supposed to be about Turkey and Iran, it deviates (though not uninterestingly) into Israel and Saudi Arabia. My copy is a UK version which makes it clear that the objective is not just a discussion of Turkey and Iran, but a re-assessment of those two countries and why they are the best Middle-Eastern allies for the US, and why the traditional best friends of America, Israel and Saudi, are not.

Anyway it's mostly a straightforward and easily-digested narrat
Robert Delikat
Reset offered a new way for me to look at the Middle East. The book makes an argument that partnering with Turkey and Iran makes the most sense for helping to achieve a peaceful solution to the challenges in that area. Stephen Kinzer suggests that we also revisit and reshape our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Israel. The premise of all of this is based on the history of Turkey and Iran and the connections and progressive nature of their peoples to the notions of popular uprisings, gender-eq ...more
Nice unvarnished 20th-century history of Turkey and Iran. Then there's chapters on post World War II history of Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States. He paints a picture of the United States foreign-policy and how interdependent the United states was/is with Israel and then Saudi Arabia. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from these chapters. I found the final chapters on future United States foreign-policy to be convoluted and not interesting.

Pretty easy and entertaining read, though.
Glenn Robinson
Mr. Kinzer clearly has passion for Turkey and the Middle East. I greatly enjoyed this book as the passion makes it worthy to read and I learned a great deal about Turkey and Iran. The book ventures off to Israel and the PLO which I felt was taking away fromthe title, however, he pulled it all back to tie it in on how Turkey and Iran are handling their affairs and how Israel fits in with America and these two countries. Wonderful book and well worth the time to read.
Robert Morris
Fun and informative, but strangely unsatisfying. Not sure what it was exactly. Kinzer has a thesis to push, and it is one that I strongly agree with. Iran is a much more natural partner for the United States than our current "allies" in Saudi Arabia. This book provides brief histories of Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and their relationships with the United States. I learned a bit, and Kinzer's time as a foreign correspondent has left him with a deep knowledge of all these countries. It' ...more
Bottom line, we (the US) needs to reshape our foreign policy in the Mideast. Out of the two countries in the Mideast that are populated with people yearning for a democracy, one we declared a part of the Axis of Evil (Iran) and the other (Turkey) we have pretty much forgotten about since "winning" the Cold War. The author takes you through the histories of both countries, on their rode to democracy, and the events that occurred stopping one (Iran) and slowing the other (Turkey). Both countries a ...more
Cynthia Blumberg
While this book is not terribly well-referenced, it does lay out an interesting argument for a path to peace in the middle east based upon the recent history of Turkey, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The cast of characters is lively. We begin with the the young Nebraskan teacher Howard Baskerville leading Iranian schoolboys into battle against the hated shah in 1909, and we continue with an illustrious account of the charismatic and complicated Ataturk whose biography is compa ...more
I would like for this book to be in every household in the U.S. I think it is the best book written regarding foreign policy. What a pity the 2000 presidential election didn't go the other way. The only currency the United States has to spend is it's good will and example. President Obama has the intelligence to use that currency if the country would support him
Tariq Mahmood
Book reads like a long newspaper article on the subject. I like the way in which the relationship of all four countries was briefly discussed relative to US. Ataturk and Reza Shah, Ibn Saud were also profiled. It could be a way forward for peace in the Middle East if US changes it's policy.
If there is any "good" consequence about early 21st century world terrorism, it is that it's captured my attention and focused my neglected interest in middle world history. I like this book's description of early 20th century events a lot and intend to seek out the author's other books.
I thought that this was a pretty good book, but truly enjoyed his other book Crescent and Star more. Seemed a little disjointed at times and all of a sudden I was reading about Israel. Still very informative and I learned a lot about Iran.
An interesting time to read the history of U.S. and other Western diplomatic missteps in the Middle East. Let's hope that this time we don't screw up the opportunities afforded us during the current realignment.
Liked this book a lot. For a long time I have felt so uninformed regarding the Middle East. This book gave me a lot of history and helped fill in political and religious information. Would really recommend.
Christian Allen
Much needed solution to American policy in the Middle East and a very viable way forward!
Very worthwhile look at geopolitics from a different perspective.
Kit Pravda
Very informative. Applicable to current mid-east news.
Justin Tapp
Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future by Stephen Kinzer is probably a "recommended read" for Americans interested in Turkey and Iran, but I won't call it a "must-read." Kinzer is a long-time foreign policy writer for several publications.

The recommended reading would be the first half of the book where he details a parallel history of the struggle for democracy in both Iran and Turkey in the late 1800s and the benevolent role some American's played in Iran's struggle. America's later role of
Jul 23, 2010 Jukka added it
Shelves: recent-reads
Reset: Iran, Turkey and America's Future - Stephen Kinzer

The ideas here are very good; ones i hope reflect evolving U.S. diplomatic thought and approach. The book is well written (most of the time). Beside the fresh look at international relations, i really enjoyed the inside view of the curious personal side of world history.

This is both a 20th century political history of Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia (with some on Israel too), and a policy book that persuasively argues for realignment of US M
An uneven effort overall. The first half, which covers the twentieth-century history of Iran and Turkey, is quite good. Parallels are drawn between the history of Iran and Turkey: moribund monarchies—Qajars in Iran and Ottomans in Turkey—are given a coup de grâce by modernizing revolutionaries—Reza Khan in Iran and Moustafa Kemal in Turkey. These firebrands' attempts to shape a new national identity employed secularizing and authoritarian means and were superficially successful, but they masked ...more
This book looks at American policy towards Iran and Turkey, both historically and in the present, and makes some startling suggestions for the future. The author contends that both Iran and Turkey have strong indigenous democratic traditions, and that the U.S. should embrace these traditions and partner with the local people to promote democracy in the region. His history of the American relations in the two countries during the first half of the 20th century is interesting, and I learned a lot, ...more
To say Kinzer is mistaken in his assessment of Turkey's ruling party would have been putting it mildly when this book came out in 2010. At this point (2015), it reads as less credible and more delusional than, say, Dennis Rodman's assessment of Kim Jong Un. This book should either be updated and reissued or viewed as a sad artifact of how thoroughly and blindly some western journalists and pundits fell for the ruling party's lies during their first decade-ish of misrule.
This book traces US Foreign Policy with the internal dynamics of four countries: Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. The primary argument is that our long term interests and common values will draw us closer with Iran and and Turkey over the next 50 year. Regarding Israel, Kinzer argues that due to internal forces, Israel and the Palestinians will be unable to have a peace. Therefore, the international community will need to impose it on them. Basically the same argument that appears in David ...more
Taha Mohammed Baageel
تسلسل زمني لحال الدولتين تركيا وإيران من ماضيهما إلى حاضرهما بدأ بالخلافه العثمانيه في تركيا والإنقلابات التي حدثت فيها وتكوين جمعية(الإتحاد والترقي) المعروفة في الخارج بتركيا الفتاة , والثورات التي حدثت فيها ضد التحالف البريطاني وذكر لبعض الوقائع الحاسمه وكيف تمكن اتاتورك(والذي لم يصفه بالكتاتور !) من تولى الأمور والوصول الى السلطه ومحاولة تحويل تركيا الى دولة ديموقراطيه علمانيه تنهج منهج اوروبا في زيها وافكارها واخلاقها , واستخدم اساليب للقمع .

وكذلك الوضع في ايران مع رضاء شاه والذي كانت بلاده
The author's thesis - that the U.S. should ditch (my word, not his) Israel and Saudi Arabia as it's main partners in the Middle East and instead focus on Turkey and Iran, was somewhat startling at first. And though I don't agree with every argument he makes in the book, he does indeed have some very interesting and thought-provoking ideas for obtaining peace in the Middle East. I appreciate the out-of-the-box thinking.

I had a hard time getting into this book at first - I'm not really sure why. B
Stephen Kinzer is one of the best. He knows middle east and he write after deep research. As an Iranian I was amazed when I realised how much he knows about Iran history and current situation. I loved this book because it gave me an insight about three other middle eastern countries that I want to know about: Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Steve Chisnell
Basing his argument on common values established by Turkish and Iranian history (and voiding the values argument with Israel and Saudi Arabia), Kinzer suggests that the US re-align its foreign policy by building a new global alliance for the Middle East. The argument is compelling (and the historical narratives particularly so), though how we must begin the cautious narrative with Iran is unclear. Kinzer does follow his argument with a few sentences which suggest that the current Iranian regime ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
I can't believe anyone can be so naive....history wise well done. but his own thoughts? the easter bunny comes to mind.
I am reading this book for a class. It is interesting to read Kinzer's comparison of Turkey and Iran, particularly their attempts at modernization. Kinzer could be a bit more objective though. When comparing Ataturk to Reza Shah, he leaves no doubt in the reader's mind about who he admires most. Overall an easy thought provoking read.
Zachary Moore
The book gives some fairly good arguments and a short history of US foreign policy in the Middle East along with the stories of the four states that author identifies as real or potential partners of the US in the region. Would be interesting to see a new update bringing thins up to 2014 as a lot has happened since this book first appeared.
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Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." (source)
More about Stephen Kinzer...

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