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Purely a pleasure to read, even if it wasn't true!
by ryefish on July 26, 2007I'm confident that "Power, Faith and Fantasy" is not rubbish and appreciate the efforts by Michael B. Oren to connect the earliest developments in U.S. policy and history to conditions and events in the Middle East.
Historical scholars will undoubtedly take issue with Oren's nearly uninterrupted parallelism between American and Middle Eastern history, but these parallels are often revealed with caveats that leave the author's hypothesis open to the reader's own suppositions.
The final section covers the most recent developments in the Middle East. While the final section is adequate, it is not exhaustive and Oren never suggests that it is. Most readers can draw on their own experiences as the audience of the last decade or so of American-Mid East relations to formulate conclusions beyond the author's limited synopsis of events.
This book is a fascinating resource of brilliant American perspectives on the Middle East from our earliest experiences with Islam and Arabs to our frequently torrid relationship with the region's inhabitants. Many of these early insights are no less relevant today than they were 30, 200 and 230 years ago.
Perhaps Gen. George McClellan figured much of it out in 1874 when he observed that, "Most Muslims have little but life to lose in this world, and much to gain in the other by entering it from a conflict with the unbeliever."
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