David Fromkin brings a fresh approach and exemplary diligence in exploring British policy in the Middle East in World War I and the peace settlement. The canvas is broad, from the Mediterranean to Afghanistan, and the well-known campaigns, crises and controversies all have their place in it. So do the leading actors, and they are sharply etched, especially Winston Churchill. Fromkin's history is made by men rather than by impersonal forces, though he reaches the clear conclusion that the men whose visions of empire brought most of the Middle East into Britain's orbit did not create a structure that could last, once social and political forces within the region asserted themselves and once the British themselves ceased to believe in that structure.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.