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The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  22 reviews
For nearly twenty years, Aaron David Miller has played a central role in U.S. efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace. His position as an advisor to presidents, secretaries of state, and national security advisors has given him a unique perspective on a problem that American leaders have wrestled with for more than half a century. Why has the world’s greatest superpower faile ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Part memoir, part history, part journalism, this book by a veteran Arab-Israeli peace negotiator should appeal to Mideast junkies who still believe in the "peace process."
A disclaimer: I covered many of these same events as State Dept. correspondent for Reuters from 1989-94. I was present at some of the events Miller describes; I traveled with Secretaries Baker and Christopher. I even interviewed Miller himself on background a number of times. (He seemed to like chatting to reporters on backgro
Feb 18, 2009 rated it liked it
A wowably infomative and comprehensive look at the efforts to make peace between Israel and Palestine with a very personal flavor.But damn! Miller was dropping names like a shetetl pissing in high cotton (he also dropped COMPLICATED, NON-SENSICAL metaphors like a bullfrog scraping its balls on the ground) so sometimes I felt out of the loop, or that I should have read "The Dummies Guide to the Middle East" first. In fact, I went out right away and BOUGHT "The Dummies Guide to the Middle East." S ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Despite being excessively anecdotal and meandering at times, Miller's book is useful and interesting on several accounts. First, he provides one of the best available outlines of the history of America's role in Arab-Israeli peace processes, especially the Carter-Sadat-Begin Camp David negotiations, as well as the Baker-Arafat-Rabin Madrid and Oslo processes. Second, he details his personal role in the recent and ongoing roles in the frustrated Wye River and Camp David negotiations between Clint ...more
Brendan Keene
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I think Miller provided a great non-biased outline of one of the most complicated and important issues the United States faces and has faced.

I initially was excited because having worked in multiple presidential administrations I thought Miller’s antidotes would be informative and interesting. They turn out to be few and far between and largely irrelevant.

Overall, this book is someone entertaining with low points, but if the reader is willing to stick it out they’ll learn a great deal a
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
I have read a lot of books about this conflict as it has always fascinated me. I have an American friend who emigrated to Israel for personal reasons rather than political, but I think it might be impossible to do that without making the political statement also. My eyes were opened a long time ago to the reality of the Palestinian oppression and the apartheid situation being created there. President Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, was another eye opener, although he is criticized ...more
Andrew Fish
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Having covered the history of the Middle East from Sykes-Picot until the formation of Israel in A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East, I was looking for a book to bring the story up to date. This book seemed to be the thing, but wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Sidestepping the history that would set it in context, Miller's book instead focuses purely on the decades of American involvement in the peace process. From Nixon to George W Bush, near ...more
Jul 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I've read many books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This one offers a more personal account than any other I've come across.

Miller was directly involved for twenty years on behalf of the United States in Middle Eastern affairs. His account of what has happened since the 1973 war is quite readable and much easier to follow than the more detailed accounts of specific negotiations available elsewhere.

I believe most readers will finish the book with a good outline of what happened and why from
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
depressing to think this conflict will never be resolved
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fabulous book by one of the great insiders in US middle eastern diplomacy. Worthwhile for the anecdotes alone. What is Arafat really like? This book does better than some biographies I've read about the man. And that's only one of the thumbnail sketches of the great and influential.
The larger picture is also worth evaluating. This is a stunning portrait of 25 years of US diplomacy trying to bring about Israel-Palestine peace. Why did so much fail? Why wasn't the US more influential? At
Oct 24, 2010 rated it liked it
This is probably closer to a 3.5.

Hmm...what do I say about this book? Dr. Miller spent a long time from (as I recall) some of the 70s through the early years of G.W. Bush as part of the U.S. diplomatic team dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In this book, he shares some of his experiences and perspective on the Arab/Israeli peace process, though, strangely, he doesn't seem to go much into recounting his own tales from the front.

My main impression, after reading this, was ambivalence
Homer H Blass
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A very good book on American diplomacy around the Israeli-Palestanian issue. Miller not only worked with American Presidents from Reagan to Bush 2 but he also arranged for a series of interviews with the most important Americans involved before he wrote this book. He feels only three Americans: James Baker; Henry Kissinger; and Jimmy Carter succeeded in their objectives, Kissinger set up the international situation to make the Israeli-Egyptian Treaty possible; Carter got the Israeli-Egyptian Pea ...more
Oct 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Author, Aaron David Miller, has extensive experience with Mid-East peace negotiations over the years with various U.S. administrations. He describes the atitudes and approaches of past Presidents and Secretaries of State, Arafat, and various Israeli leaders in peace negotiations over the years. He also discusses some of the more subtle influences on U.S. policy, including the effectiveness and significant impact of the Israel Lobby influencing congressional lawmakers, and the lack of an effe ...more
May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bob by: David Abelson
Written at the end of 2008, this is an excellent history of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by a high level US government insider during the 1980s and 1990s. The perspective is "how can America help the parties resolve their main issues (Jerusalem, borders, refugees, Palestinian statehood)" and "why should it matter to America" - both very well addressed. Recommended reading for those interested in the history of current events. He quotes Faulkner, "The past is never dead. It's not even p ...more
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Couldn't quite make it through. In theory it's easy to read: conversational and casual, but it's not organized into a story, which makes it hard to follow and care about the players in the book -- even though this is a book you read because you care or are interested in the issue. Kind of disappointing.
This is what I am currently reading. I could never make it in the diplomatic corps of ANY country. Personally, I have a great difficulty in rewarding peoples peace and appeasement for bad behavior. That pretty much was the message coming from Aaron David Miller. Stay tuned, I will have a full book review in the near future.
Raphael Cohen-Almagor
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, honest, critical, and well argued, this insightful first-person account offers a brilliant new analysis of the problem of Arab-Israeli peace and how, against all odds, it still might be solved.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very good history of American's involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Includes interviews with Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, James Baker, Bill Clinton. Miller also offers prescriptions for what a new President and administration should be focused on.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, read-again
Probably tied with Thomas Friedman's book as my favorite book on the Middle East. Great overview of the last 20 years of American diplomatic involvement by one of the actors. Balanced and self-critical. Made me want to read more about it - what more can you ask for?
Andrew Griffith
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
For those interested in the Mid-East, one of the better books of various US peace and diplomatic initiatives from an insider.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit
Found this too boring, too much profanity, didn't finish it.
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
If I had to pick one guy to explain the historical American point of view regarding this topic, this would be the guy.
Erik Ferguson
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May 22, 2016
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Jan 14, 2009
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May 06, 2011
Lee Hamilton
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May 21, 2019
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Sep 01, 2008
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