The U.S. in the Middle East: Selected Readings

This reading list, recommended by Professor Michael Hunt, was compiled to accompany the GAA’s “Think Fast” public forum held July 27, 2006.

The making and unmaking of recent U.S. policy (all lively and accessible)

  • James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of the Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking Press, 2004)
  • Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon, 2006)
  • George Packer, The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005)
  • Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin, 2006)
  • Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)

The Islamist challenge (serious scholarship by leading authorities)

  • Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, translated by Anthony F. Roberts (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002)
  • Fawaz A. Gerges, The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Charles Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, second edition (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004)

An American empire? (a sampling from an increasingly academic debate)

  • Rhashid Khalidi, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America’s Perilous Path in the Middle East(Boston: Beacon Press, 2004)
  • Bernard Porter, “British and American ‘Imperialisms’ Compared,” 26 June 2006, available on the History News Network Web site

[accessed 24 July 2006])

  • See also Porter, Empire and Superempire: Britain, America and the World (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006)
  • David C. Hendrickson, “The Curious Case of American Hegemony: Imperial Aspirations and National Decline,” World Policy Journal 22 (summer 2005): 1-22.
  • The long view on the U.S. role in the region (solid academic treatments)
    • Douglas Little, American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002)
    • Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945, second edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005)

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