Item description for The Mirage of Peace: Understanding the Never-Ending Conflict in the Middle East by David Aikman...
Overview Former "TIME" magazine Jerusalem bureau chief Aikman takes a sober, balanced look at the Middle East, issuing a challenge to take a uniquely Christian approach to the Middle East rather than religious crusading.
Publishers Description Former "TIME Magazine" Jerusalem bureau chief David Aikman takes a sober, balanced impactful look at the Middle East, bringing a journalist's mind and a believer's heart to his examination of a region aflame. In this timely and informed exploration of current Middle East issues that goes beyond headlines and sound bites, Aikman fills in the blanks for thoughtful Christians, accurately tracing recent history and fairly portraying the leaders who have made that history. With a firm grasp on a biblical understanding of Israel's past, present and future, he turns a critical eye on the political and religious policies of the region's prime players, resorting neither to blind pro Israeli sentiment nor to reactionary pro Palestinian bias. Aikman challenges us to a uniquely Christian approach to the Middle East, respect, reason and love, rather than unqualified tolerance on the one hand or religious crusading on the other.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.14" Width: 6.3" Height: 1" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2009
Publisher GOSPEL LIGHT PUBLISHERS #9
ISBN 0830746056 ISBN13 9780830746057
Availability 0 units.
More About David Aikman
David Aikman is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with wide knowledge and deep experience of the politics and religion of China. He served more than two decades as a foreign correspondent with TIME Magazine, reporting from five continents on many dramatic world events. Most recently, he authored "Jesus in Beijing, How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the World Balance of Power "and the best-seller "A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush.""
David Aikman currently resides in Burke Lovettsville, in the state of Virginia. David Aikman was born in 1944.
Reviews - What do customers think about Mirage Of Peace?
Highly Informative, Very Useful Mar 22, 2010
I'm glad to have added the very useful "Mirage of Peace" to my personal library. It's joined two or three other books as my top recommendations towards gaining a good survey-level knowledge of the history and politics of the Middle East.
In the interest of full disclosure, I studied under Dr. Aikman. That does not necessarily lead to a positive student-professor endorsement, but in my case I was able to question and probe the vast depths of David Aikman's personal experience and considerable knowledge. I was consistently impressed by his thoughtful, inquisitive perspective on world events.
"The Mirage of Peace" is arranged as a survey of the nations that comprise the Middle East. Aikman moves nation-by-nation, examining major events and motivators in the history of each state and how these factors affect their relations with neighbors and the surrounding region. While some nations, most notably Egypt, have a past stretching back hundreds or thousands of years, many were pulled together by European powers out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI. Others have a still more recent past, such as the resurrection of an Israeli state after WWII. With that being said, the overall focus of the book is the late 19th century through the late 20th, with some discussion of both the Gulf War and the ongoing Iraq War.
Many of the events Aikman covers on he not only studied but lived through and reported on during his years as a journalist, giving his narrative a better sense of culture and place than many academic pieces I've read on the subject. This book represents an incredible, lucid compendium of information on the countries that comprise the region and the wars and wounds that still motivate them today.
I can't think of a better survey to recommend for readers planning interaction with the nations of the Middle East--whether for business, study, policy, or pleasure. Aikman is excellent at reminding the reader of intersections with previously introduced information where appropriate, juggling numerous players without confusion. The format is also such that a reader could find their nation(s) of interest and glean from that chapter without having to cross-reference other sections--though of course I recommend reading the whole book.
Eye-opening. Explains the never-ending Mid-East conflicts Nov 15, 2009
Mirage of Peace is thorough, balanced and wonderfully written.
It's the best book to give to someone headed to the Middle East as a journalist, diplomat, tourist or business person.
David Aikman -- former Time magazine Israel bureau chief-- is one of the most respected print journalists to cover Israel and the Middle East. In this acclaimed new book, he goes beyond the media's over-simplications and examines recent Middle East events and the prime players.
If you want to understand the Middle East from the perspectives of all the countries in it, this book is for you.
I am not aware of any other book that covers all the countries of the Middle East, and provides such a helpful amount of historical, cultural and religious background.
This is not a book about American diplomacy, though the various Camp David meetings from Carter to Clinton are mentioned. It supports Israel and also allows Palestinian their say.
Aikman takes readers from Israel and the Palestinians; to Syria and Lebaon; Egypt and Jordan, the Persia (really Arabian) Gulf; Iraq; Iran; Saudia Arabia and beyond.
Scattered, biased, and produces no "understanding" Nov 7, 2009
As a student of political science, with a love for cultural studies, globalization, and the balances of power between groups and civilizations, I loved Aikman's "Jesus in Beijing". Sadly, this is no "Jesus in Beijing".
There is no cohesive "understanding of the never-ending conflict in the Middle East". There are lots of facts and dates about said conflict. One could hardly call the fruit of reading this book "understanding". Wikipedia is more helpful in understanding the meaning and impact of these conflicts than Aikman's book. Plus, it has pictures to distract you from the monotony of Aikman's prose.
"Mirage of Peace" reads more like a high school history text, at best. If you like 200+-page strings of data, dates, and events of the leaders of countries, with no movement of cohesion, you will like this book.
However, if you like analyses of culture, or history that brings you into the lives of common people (instead of just the 'victors of society), this book is not for you.
If you are looking for a brief overview of Middle East relations, and how they came to be, I recommend Bernard Lewis' "The Crisis of Islam". If you are looking for a book with the 'common touch', I recommend Asne Seierstad's "A Hundred and One Days". If you are looking for insight into Al Qaeda or Bin Laden, I recommend "Through Our Enemies' Eyes" by Michael Scheuer (formerly published anonymously).
I'm not sure where the promised "uniquely Christian perspective" was anywhere in the book, other than the obvious pro-Israel bias, particularly when Aikman chronicles Israel's disproportional response to the Hezbollah kidnappings in 2006, his great bias against Palestinians, or the really cryptic "Christianity will breed out Islam" overtone of his closing two paragraphs.
What was further incredibly disappointing about this "balanced" book on Middle Eastern affairs, was the degree to which any influential action by the United States (save the Carter administration's botching of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979) was either spun or completely omitted. Nothing mentioned about the US bringing Saddam to power in Iraq or providing the chemical weapons used against Iran and the Kurds. Note one note about the Iran-contra scandal under Reagan, where we tried to fund both sides of a horrendous war for our own advantage in the region. And nothing about US military aid to Israel. I couldn't believe it. It was revisionist history, at best. I expected way more from a TIME correspondent, and certainly more from a book endorsed by a Christian publisher, and with open faith-based endorsements at the beginning of the book.
Two things saved this book from being a 1-star dud, in my opinion. 1: Aikman is a smart man, there is no doubt about it. And you will learn something about some event in Middle East history, I promise. I recommend the chapter on Iran, as I believe it was his strongest, least biased chapter (The Iran-Contra omission being the huge exception here)
2: You no doubt get a sense that he likes his work, and that he really wants people to understand what has transpired in the Middle East. For that I give him credit. I just recommend other books that are more successful in achieving his aims in lieu of his own.