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Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958 by D. K. Fieldhouse

Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958


Western Imperialism in the Middle East 1914-1958 by D. K. Fieldhouse

The term 'Fertile Crescent' is commonly used as shorthand for the group of territories extending around the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Here it is assumed to consist of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine. Much has been written on the history of these countries which were taken from the Ottoman empire after 1918 and became Mandates under the League of Nations. For the most part the histories of these countries have been handled either individually or as part of the history of Britain or France. In the first instance the emphasis has normally been on the development of nationalism and local resistance to alien control in a particular territory, leading to the modern successor state. In the second most studies have concentrated separately on how either France or Britain handled the great problems they inherited, seldom comparing their strategies. The aim of this book is to see the region as a whole and from both the European and indigenous points of view. The central argument is that the mandate system failed in its stated purpose of establishing stable democratic states out of what had been provinces or parts of provinces within the Ottoman empire. Rather it generated essentially unstable polities and, in the special case of Palestine, one totally unresolved, and possibly unsolvable, conflict. The result was to leave the Middle East as perhaps the most volatile part of the world in the later twentieth century and beyond.


Its comparative approach helps fill a huge gap in Middle East scholarship. * H-Soz-u-Kult * 'As one would expect from Fieldhouse, the style is brisk and efficient, the writing lucid and the substance fair-minded. In a subject of daunting complexity, and on which much that is written has a polemical purpose, even well-informed readers will find its balance and clarity exceptionally useful. * John Darwin, TLS * ...the value of this work lies in its exceptional clarity and the succinctness of its synthesis, which make it ideal for students and the uninitiated. The slim, but judiciously chosen, select bibliography and the detailed index add to its usefulness. * Jennifer M. Dueck, French Studies * Review from previous edition Fieldhouse's strength lies in his detailed and extensive knowledge of British imperial and general history. * Jan Zouplna, Quarterly Journal of African and Asian Studies, vol 74 *

About the Author

D. K. Fieldhouse is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge.

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Book Info

Publication date

17th April 2008


D. K. Fieldhouse

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Oxford University Press


400 pages


20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Colonialism & imperialism
International relations



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