The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, 1955-1967

In This Review

The Superpowers and the Middle East: Regional and International Politics, 1955-1967

By Fawaz A. Gerges
Westview Press, 1994
274 pp. $60.00
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This is an excellent first book by a young Lebanese scholar. He brings analytical sophistication and detailed knowledge of a wide variety of sources to bear on a crucial period when the Cold War was being fought out in the Middle East. He is quick to note that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union was particularly successful in exerting its influence in the region. In addition, the local powers quickly learned to exploit the superpower rivalry. He also vividly conveys how the Israeli challenge exacerbated inter-Arab relations. Finally, relying on Arabic sources, he gives a glimpse into the internal decision-making of Egypt and other Arab states, noting that they often overestimated their importance to outside powers. This well-researched and objective study is a welcome addition to serious history written by Middle East scholars from the region.