It is in the Middle East that the U.S. has been made to confront its attitudes on the use of force, the role of allies, and international law. The history of the U.S. in the Middle East, then, becomes an especially revealing mirror on America’s view of its role in the wider world.

In this wise, objective, and illuminating history, Lawrence Freedman shows how three key events in 1978-1979 helped establish the foundations for U.S. involvement in the Middle East that would last for thirty years, without offering any straightforward or bloodless exit options: the Camp David summit leading to the Israel-Egypt Treaty; the Iranian Islamic revolution leading to the Shah’s departure followed by the hostage crisis; and the socialist revolution in Afghanistan, resulting in the doomed Soviet intervention. Drawing on his considerable expertise, Freedman makes clear how America’s strategic choices in those and subsequent crises led us to where we are today.

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Foreign Affairs, July, August
“Provocative new book”
Economist, July, 24, 2008
“Sir Lawrence’s subtle narrative is a marvel of concision, even over more than 500 pages. By the end it cannot but make the reader wonder how realistic it is to advocate… an “integrated grand strategy” capable of being sustained for decades in such a violent and unpredictable part of the world.”

Survival: Journal of the International Institute of Strategic Studies
“Magesterial…[Freedman] is decidedly level-headed, undogmatic, widely informed about things outside his discipline, and alive to the ways in which governments actually work….Freedman is a great archival historian in part because his grasp of the way decision-makers and bureaucracies interact with each other, their domestic political environment and the wider world enables him to read the fragmentary and self-serving sources more astutely than most scholars. He is also a writer who prefers to work in a jargon-free zone. A Choice of Enemies displays all these virtues.”
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