The Making of the Modern Middle East
A Spectator Book of the Year 2022
A New Statesman Book of the Year 2022
‘An illuminating and riveting read’ – Jonathan Dimbleby
Jeremy Bowen, the International Editor of the BBC, has been covering the Middle East since 1989 and is uniquely placed to explain its complex past and its troubled present.
In The Making of the Modern Middle East – in part based on his acclaimed podcast, ‘Our Man in the Middle East’ – Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether brutal or benign, and he explores the power games that have so often wreaked devastation on civilian populations as those leaders, whatever their motives, jostle for political, religious and economic control.
With his deep understanding of the political, cultural and religious differences between countries as diverse as Erdogan’s Turkey, Assad’s Syria and Netanyahu’s Israel and his long experience of covering events in the region, Bowen offers readers a gripping and invaluable guide to the modern Middle East, how it came to be and what its future might hold.
Jeremy Bowen is one of the finest journalists and broadcasters of our age – qualities which shine through every page of this superb book. Written with modesty, grace and compassion, his account of 30 years working in the Middle East for the BBC combines his own personal experience with and a rare understanding of what makes this tortured region so dangerously combustible. His judgements are invariably balanced but when they are due he does not shrink from scathing criticisms of the key actors. The result is an illuminating and riveting read. — Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster, author and historian This is a wise, compelling, fast-paced book – essential reading if you wish to make sense of the forces that have convulsed the Middle East, as well as unsettling all our lives, since the end of the Cold War. — Jason Cowley, author of Who Are We Now? and Editor in Chief of The New Statesman Jeremy Bowen’s broadcasts from Middle Eastern conflicts have always been riveting viewing: authoritative, cool and devoid of moralising and fake passion. This book is a very personal and erudite history of a troubled region where enemies of impartiality abound, though some don’t even live there. I highly recommend this fascinating book which is also a testament to a better era in journalism. — Michael Burleigh, author of The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now A gripping and compelling account that swings between gut-wrenching eyewitness stories and dispassionate analysis, laying bare the hopes and horrors of the Middle East in the twenty-first century. A remarkable book. — Professor Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History Jeremy Bowen is a master of succinct writing for television and in print, and his skill is showcased to brilliant effect in this distillation of decades of experience reporting from the Middle East. It’s a terrific book, pithy and pacy, equally at home telling stories of ordinary people as in encounters with princes and presidents. Carefully defined thematic chapters cover the thirty years since the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan with clarity and insight. Bowen’s reach is unparalleled and his voice rings through loud and clear on every page. — Matthew Teller, journalist and author of Nine Quarters of Jerusalem As a veteran of numerous Middle East conflicts spanning several decades, Jeremy Bowen is uniquely qualified to analyse and explain the region’s complex political and religious landscape. His book should be essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of this fascinating, but deeply troubled, part of the world. — Con Coughlin, author of Saddam: The Secret Life and Khomeini’s Ghost
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