This short volume relates the modern history of some of the countries in the Middle East. Although the book mentions the ancient history of the region, it focuses on modern history and the numerous conflicts in this area of the world. When the Ottoman Empire was disbanded after World War I, the area became the focus of much unrest. Britain was unable to resolve the conflicts and the arbitrary piecing together of new countries such as Iraq from previously separate, autonomous groups did not work. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is examined in this book, but the reasons given for the conflict trace its origin to the Zionist settlement of the land in the early 1900’s and the subsequent partition decision by the United Nations in 1947. The book simply states that Israel declared itself a state after the U.N. decision and that the U.N. decision was not acceptable to the Palestinians. It goes on to say that Israel fought with its Arab neighbors and added to the territory originally given by the U.N. It does not state that Israel defended itself against far superior forces, or that much of the land designated for Palestine by the partition decree is now part of Jordan. This book is not recommended.
Susan Dubin was the first librarian honored with a Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award. She is the owner/director of Off-the-Shelf Library Services and library instructional consultant at Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino, CA.