The State of the Mid­dle East: An Atlas of Con­flict and Resolution

Dan Smith
  • Review
By – March 30, 2012
This book includes text, maps, and pho­tographs, divid­ed into three parts, fol­lowed by glos­sary, sources, and index. The first part, The Shap­ing of the Mid­dle East,” pro­vides a short sur­vey of Mid­dle East­ern his­to­ry, main­ly from the Ottoman peri­od onwards. The sec­ond part, Are­nas of Con­flict,” dis­cuss­es var­i­ous con­flicts regard­ing geo­graph­i­cal enti­ties, the Kurds, and the Gulf wars. The last part, The State of the Nations,” focus­es on broad­er prob­lems (e.g., eth­nic­i­ty and lan­guage, reli­gion, health, pop­u­la­tion, water, edu­ca­tion, econ­o­my, refugees, gen­der and human rights). The sources include offi­cial reports and elec­tron­ic resources in addi­tion to books and arti­cles. The use of side bars for chronol­o­gy, dia­grams, and maps is help­ful. This is a use­ful pub­li­ca­tion, though not with­out cer­tain errors and incon­sis­ten­cies, for exam­ple, Smith’s def­i­n­i­tion of Mid­dle East” excludes Sudan and Turkey but includes the Maghreb, though in the text he finds it nec­es­sary to include Turkey. More­over: why does the map on Jew­ish migra­tion to Israel exclude Libya? There is hard­ly any ref­er­ence to the Lebanese Hizbal­lah and its for­eign sup­port­ers; PKK is the Kur­dish, not Turk­ish, abbre­vi­a­tion of the party’s name.
Ruth Seif is a retired chair­per­son of Eng­lish at Thomas Jef­fer­son High School in NYC. She served as admin­is­tra­tor in the alter­na­tive high school division.

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