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This is an absolutely fascinating book so packed with information I could hardly put it down. Dennis Ross has served as one of the United States Middle Eastern policy makers through four recent administrations. Ross states this is not a history of Arab-Israeli peace efforts but rather a discussion of the evolution of Israeli-American diplomatic relations. Ross discusses the relationship with each president starting with Truman’s recognition of Israel just eleven minutes after its Declaration of Statehood in 1948.
Ross enumerates the number of factors leading to a strengthening of the ties during the Cold War. The author also covers the problems for the U.S. regarding the Israel-Arab hostilities mostly “The Palestinian Question.” Ross discusses each of the key people including the America’s own Machiavelli, Henry Kissinger. The author also investigates the relationship of Israel’s prime ministers along with the United States presidents. I found it most interesting to learn how the various Presidents interacted with their Secretary of State’s; some presented the big picture of what they wanted to achieve and left the Secretary of State on their own to implement, others like Obama controlled everything from the White House and the Secretary of State was just an errand boy. I found a comment made by Ross most interesting and it triggered me to do a literature search to verify the comment. The comment is the Palestinians have never initiated a peace offering in all these years.
The book is well researched and also provides eyewitness accounts of the history it analyses. The author writes clearly and elucidates the complexities of the United States-Israel relationship and also the larger picture of the Middle East. The book is thoughtful and even handed in covering the material. The book is fairly long at almost 500 pages or 19 audio hours. Michael Kramer did a good job narrating the book.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
There is probably no one better positioned to provide this panoramic historical review of the US - Israel relationship. You will need some fair background to understand the story - Do you remember the Sinai Campaign of 1956? - but Dennis Ross provides a lot of useful perspective. He emphasizes that our Arab friends do not prioritize resolving the Israel - Palestinian conflict, but he has devoted countless years to trying to resolve it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful