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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

by Michael B. Oren
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“Will shape our thinking about America and the Middle East for years.”—Christopher Dickey, Newsweek

Power, Faith, and Fantasytells the remarkable story of America's 230-year relationship with the Middle East. Drawing on a vast range of government documents, personal correspondence, and the memoirs of merchants, missionaries, and travelers, Michael B. Oren narrates the unknown story of how the United States has interacted with this vibrant and turbulent region.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393330304
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/05/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 800
Sales rank: 587,126
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Michael B. Oren, Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center, has written numerous works on the Middle East, including the New York Times bestsellers Six Days of War and Power, Faith, and Fantasy. He has taught at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown universities, and currently serves as Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Table of Contents

Chronology     xvii
Prologue: A Passage to Glory     3
Introduction: Recovering a Pivotal Past     9
Early America Encounters the Middle East
A Mortal and Mortifying Threat     17
The Hostile and Ethereal Orient     41
A Crucible of American Identity     51
Illuminating and Emancipating the World     80
The Middle East and Antebellum America
Confluence and Conflict     101
Manifest Middle Eastern Destiny     122
Under American Eyes     149
The Civil War and Reconstruction
Fission     177
Rebs and Yanks on the Nile     190
The Trumpet That Never Calls Retreat     210
American Onslaught     228
Resurgence     246
The Age of Imperialism
Empires at Dawn     257
Imperial Piety     273
Imperial Myths     297
A Region Renamed and Reordered     307
America, the Middle East, and the Great War
Spectators of Catastrophe     325
Action or Nonaction?     340
An American Movement Is Born     351
Arise, O Arabs, and Awake!     367
The First Middle East Peace Process     376
Fantasies Revived     398
Oil, War, and Ascendancy
From Bibles to Drill Bits     407
An Insoluble Conflict Evolves     420
A Torch for the Middle East     446
The Middle East and the Man from Missouri     475
In Search of Pax Americana
Harmony and Hegemony     505
The Thirty Years' War     550
Epilogue: A Profound and Visceral Gratitude     595
Afterword     605
Notes     613
Bibliography     693
Acknowledgments     743
Illustration Credits     747
Index     751

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Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good starting point in gaining understanding of US/Middle East relations. Extremely readable, entertaining, with great descriptive passages that easily transport the reader back in time. I was very excited about the book until I found some factual errors that even a cursory edit should have the founder of the Mormon church was JOSEPH Smith. This makes me have niggling doubts about Oren's other conclusions, but I'll still recommend it as a springboard to other studies. Sylvia Hodges, McAllen,Tx
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written in a style that helps one get through its 600+ pages, this is an excellent survey of America's experience in the Middle East and a good initial read for someone interested in our experience there. Extremely detailed in the pre-WW II period although the postwar period seems a bit rushed. Especially good in its descriptions of the Barbary Wars of the early 1800s, the role of American missionaries in establishing major universities and medical institutions in the Arab World and Truman's postwar struggle with the issue of Israel. The comprehensive bibliography is a superb starting point for futher study. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of this book was diminished by its numerous errors involving minor points that had little to do with its overall theme (e.g. Marlon Brando's name on a list of Hollywood stars in 1940, three years before his first role in a high school play). Although this could be attributed to sloppy fact checking or editing, I still had nagging questions about what else in the book might be inaccurate.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first glance, this book may seem like a tome of historical facts. But read the first few pages, and it becomes evident that it is more than just history. Rather, this book reads like a story its storyteller is a renowned historian whose attention to facts and details is, unfortunately, unique. In addition, it teaches (and reteaches) American history, Middle Eastern history, and world history. It is a reminder that every historical detail is related to something else and does not happen in a vacuum events and their consequences change the course of history forever. This book is a necessary read for everyone--skeptics, scholars, and the general public alike. It is time to see history in a balanced and factual light. This book provides that necessary perspective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A meticulously researched and brilliantly narrated book, Oren's work puts America's involvement in the Middle East in its historical context, providing a much-needed perspective at a time when this involvement is at its height. If we are to truly understand the origins of this complex and unique involvement, 'Power, Faith, and Fantasy' is a must read. Writing with the factual precision of a historian and the flair of a novelist, Oren delivers an impressive account that spans over 230 years of American history. This is a compelling, informative, and indispensable read from a critically acclaimed historian.
robrod1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oren makes History enjoyable.
chrisqhj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and timely - especially the older material, pre-20th century. Washington's and Jefferson's writings on the Barbary States prove the old verse "there is nothing new under the sun."
KApplebaum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one I'll be buying, because it's not a fast read. But definitely interesting.
nkrastx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brilliant explanation of US policy in the Middle East. Contains fascinating details. You will be amazed.
lketchersid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Michael Oren's POWER, FAITH and FANTASY is an immensely researched (80 pages of notes and a 50 page bibliography) and cohesively written accound of American impact in the middle east from the beginnings of America until the present. The background research and anecdotes provide a firm footing for any interested party who wants to know how the United States and the Middle East arrived to the situations they are in today. Most notably, Oren describes the personalities of the people involved, and reminds us through evidence and quotes, that the policies of countries (whether democracy, autocracy or other) are shaped by the sentiments, education and background of their leaders. Mr. Oren runs through not only the leaders of the Middle Eastern countries in each phase, but goes in depth on the up-bringing and cultural leanings of each U.S. President (i.e., most of them) who had influence to bear on the events in the Middle East. The book is crafted into seven sections, roughly paralleling developments in US History: independence, before the Civil War, during the Civil War, as America becomes a power, WWI, oil and WWII, and a brief skim over the years since WWII. In each section are weaved the three themes of Faith (religeous influences, including Zionist, pro-Arab, anti-Semite, etc.), Power (US ideas of democracy vs. European Imperialism, Soviet Communism, Arab self-rule) and Fantasy (films, impressions). I enjoyed this book because Mr. Oren presented facts, not judgements, difficult to do in history as you can make the facts say what you want. But he convincingly presents as many perspecitves to each issue as he can. His last section on the years from WWII to present was brief, but he acknowleded that it would be a fly-by because of so much material and interest that had already been written on the subject. A long read at 600+ pages, but well worth it. I learned many new things and was reminded of some I had forgotten. Highly recommended.
merchiebum More than 1 year ago
Well written and well researched; should be required reading by all State Department personnel and White House staff.
RomeoRomeo More than 1 year ago
Fabulous and well written. Kept my interest all the way.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A brilliant history of American relations in the MidEast. A necessary reference book, and a nice one to put on your bookshelf, for all students, policy-makers, and curious cats. Well-written, superbly-researched, and accurately portrayed, this book is an instant classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, which finally clarifies why we are now in this mess. Just as Europe chose to pay off the bandits in the 1700s, they chose to do the same today. Excellent book. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oren uses an interesting technique of looking at US-middle east relations through small biographies of various individuals who were personally involved in historical events. The problem with this technique is that many claims are often exaggerated, at times false, which damages the overall reliability of the historical account he provides. The scope of this book was certainly ambitious, and I was excited to read it, but the factual inconsistencies and poor editing (for which I do not blame the author), made my experience with this book frustrating. I would recommend looking elsewhere for a more reliable historical account.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So many of his 'facts' are pure fiction. The reference he makes to the Rev. George Bush, who wrote the book The Valley of Vision (among other works), being a forebear of our current President George Walker Bush and his father George Herbert Walker Bush is pure fiction! And include in his misstated 'facts' this one: John Smith founded the Mormon faith. Not true again! It was in actual fact Joseph Smith, Jr. It makes the reader question all of his so-called 'facts'. This work should be placed on the shelves in the fiction section. It is poorly researched and, although written with the voice of authority, it is not even close to being factually accurate!