A LINE IN THE SAND BOOK
Start by marking “A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East” as Want to Read: Through a stellar cast of politicians, diplomats, spies and soldiers - including T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle - 'A Line in the Sand. A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Mid and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. During the research for A Line in the Sand he was a Visiting Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. James Barr’s A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle. A Line in the Sand [James Barr Sir] on resourceone.info *FREE* shipping on The Amazon Book Review Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more.
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A Line in the Sand by James Barr - In , in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between About The Book. James Barr's new book, A Line in the Sand, adds some spice to the usual accounts of this decisive moment in the history of the Middle East. Buy A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East UK ed. by James Barr (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store.
The acts of terrorism that took place before and in the run up to were appalling and it easy to forget that such things took place as a means to help bring about the State of Israel, and that large numbers of Palestinians were forced to leave there homes to create a Jewish homeland.
Our author knows his stuff, using archives, letters and documents he pieces together a breathtaking and sometimes shocking account of events.
A powerful work. Jan 06, Mark rated it really liked it. Well written, well researched and a pretty damning indictment about the imperialist powers of Britain and France vying with each other for their slice of the Middle-East during and after the First World War. It would have been interesting to get a further perspective on this sorry episode from the another view point such as from the peoples who lived there but that aside I found the book very well written and informative.
Jan 29, Salma Nagy rated it really liked it. The book is full of details and very informative, the main thought I'm left with is: The audacity!! A very well-written narrative that describes one of the most disputable periods; a period that affected the modern day that we live in, especially if you're a Middle East resident. Or did it? The author is concise in his statements, very well-prepared in his research, coherent in his conclusions, and effective in the delivery of the material.
The char A very well-written narrative that describes one of the most disputable periods; a period that affected the modern day that we live in, especially if you're a Middle East resident. The characters that he researched and documented were all effective, and the reader can understand better their views, their hopes and vision for the region, and their actions after reading their own memoirs, minutes of meetings, journals, and reports; all of which the author cites effectively in his narrative.
The book also draws a picture of an eternally locked-in-conflict France and Britain. Even during the height of WWII, where British soldiers were dying defending lines of defense in Continental Europe along with the Americans, the French were stabbing them in the back by supplying the Zionists with arms to kill British soldiers in the Levant. Imperialism knows no boundaries, it is a religion, a principle, that binds its holders eternally, one may conclude.
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One main conclusion arises: The Imperial powers had their designs; their many lines in the sand, but they all played along the variables that changed constantly on the ground.
The variables also included the Jews, the Zionists with their well-organized gangs and parallel organizations, and of course the agents of Imperialism who believed in one vision or another e. Lawrence's greater Syria vision.
This game was played with all the variables, the fragmentation of the original populations of the land under any category of the above, choose what suits you created a huge disadvantage against the war-hardened Zionists with their organizations, structure, shrewdness, and long-term objectives.
The Arabs clearly lost because they were selfish, short-sighted, prone to treachery, and unexposed to the world. And they very much deserved to lose. The scheming didn't help, but the Imperialists favored the victor whether they liked them or not, and the facts on the ground dictated that the Zionists won. Oct 07, Andrew Fish rated it it was amazing. Throughout my life the phrase Middle East crisis has seemed something of a tautology.
A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle that Shaped the Middle East
One of my earliest recollections of world events was the shelling of Lebanon in the early s. The problems of the region seem intractable, views on either side utterly entrenched, and those of us with the luxury to be thousands of miles away struggle to make sense of it all.
Part of the problem, of course, is that we never really discuss the root causes. There's a sort of collective memory that it has to do w Throughout my life the phrase Middle East crisis has seemed something of a tautology. There's a sort of collective memory that it has to do with imperialism, the Balfour declaration and some kind of collective guilt about the suffering of Jews in the Second World War, but this is far from a detailed picture.
And we need to understand, because if we don't we will fall into the same trap as our poorly educated world leaders, painting a simple picture of good and evil which does nothing but perpetuate the violence.
Barr's book is a good place to start. Picking up the story of the region as the Ottoman Empire collapsed and World War One began, he examines the area through the lens of Anglo-French rivalry, completing his story with the end of the British Mandate and the foundation of Israel.
Even though, as a British reader, I've long been conditioned to view the French with regard to events from to Agincourt, Joan of Arc to Waterloo, the revelations of just what happened in those few decades is truly shocking. Organising coups, rigging elections and sponsoring terrorism, nothing was beyond the pale.
Oil is a factor, of course, but much less so than people would usually have you believe. Instead, what we have here is the pure arrogance of imperialism at its peak, the peoples of the region little more than pawns to be sacrificed for strategy or even just to save face.
The Zionists, too, are a major factor in the story. For those who see the region through the prism of the s, or whose view of the Israelis is largely shaped by the atrocities of the Holocaust, some of this will be uncomfortable reading, but it is made abundantly clear that the current Arab-Israeli conflict has roots much deeper than the Six Day War. Barr writes a balanced and breathtaking narrative. At times, the speed at which events emerge and reverse is astonishing, but his style makes it relatively easy to keep up with the complex politics of the region.
His conclusions seemed a little too even-handed based on what had gone before, but this didn't detract from what was a very worthwhile read. Now all I need is something which covers the events from until the present day. Oct 14, Phil rated it it was amazing. The best book I've read about the Middle East for some time, James Barr's extraordinary history traces many of that bedevilled region's contemporary tensions to the machinations of French and British politicians and diplomats during the last decades of their two countries' empires.
Seemingly both aware of the untenability of their old colonial habits, the U. In this they were both prepared to make unreasonable and empty promises to the inhabitants, and to change their minds as they saw fit - without necessarily telling those to whom they had made the promises, or each other! The most astonishing revelation, for me at least, was that throughout the Second World War, when Britain and de Gaulle's Free French were allies in Europe, in the Middle East they were at each other's throats, each continually plotting to deceive and destabilise the other in their ambitions.
This broke out in open fighting at times, and led - and this is something I'd never come across in any other history of the region - to the French surreptitiously funding, arming and sheltering the armed Zionist groups who set up the State of Israel, after the British had persistently attempted to renege on the Balfour Declaration of which supported a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Barr is a clear, thorough writer who is nevertheless thoroughly readable, and whose prose is shot through with ironic humour when describing some of the frankly eccentric - even slightly mad - characters which the great European powers apparently saw fit to entrust with their foreign policy.
Aug 26, Elliott Bignell rated it it was amazing. The phrase that springs to mind when reading this authoritative history is "beggar thy neighbour". From the effort to break up the Ottoman Empire to the mutual backstabbing between the World War Two "victors", the whole history is a uniformly shaming indictment of the Western allies, almost unique in producing virtually no heroic personalities at all. The sole honourable exception appears to be T.
Lawrence, whose affinity for Arab culture and interests appears to have been heartfelt. The cons The phrase that springs to mind when reading this authoritative history is "beggar thy neighbour".
The consequences are playing themselves out to this day for viewing on our broadband connections: One of the first things reported about the new "Caliphate" erected by ISIS in Iraq in recent weeks was their achievement in tearing up the Sykes-Picot agreement, the focus of this story. Meanwhile the rockets are flying back and forth once more over Gaza, yet another relict of this story.
It is perhaps unwarranted to express a implicit preference for any party by focussing condemnation on any other among such a parcel of rogue states, but I must reserve particular opprobrium for France. Perhaps this is national bias coming out, but I cannot but bristle at the thought of a European country touting its "right to impose its culture" on Syria, or its latter-day-Frankish representative standing at the tomb of Saladin and trumpeting "we are back".
No-one gets away untarnished, though - Zionist terrorists murdered Jewish settlers and Jewish Palestinian policemen in "black flag" operations purely to stir up hatred; Britain colluded in the settlement with one hand while trying to crush the nascent Israel with the other, reneging on a string of promises of Arab independence; the US manoeuvred to seize control of the region's oil.
All corrupt; all venal. Not even Churchill, with his efforts to use poison gas in Iraq, comes out well. The whole is engagingly written by a historian who has clearly studied the drip of declassified documents pertaining to this history which have emerged over the decades, and I found myself rivetted, if mostly disgusted.
Consummately researched history meets great storytelling in this fascinating book about one of the main causes for the current conflict in the Middle East. What I didn't understand before reading Barr's book was the motivation behind those British actions and even T.
Lawrence's heroics! A bitter, long-st Consummately researched history meets great storytelling in this fascinating book about one of the main causes for the current conflict in the Middle East.
A bitter, long-standing rivalry drove British and French policy in the Middle East, from North Africa to the Mesopotamian oil fields, and this book lays bare the whole ugly story.
It was particularly poignant to me to read about the French's final reluctant abandonment of Syria, since the descriptions of bloodletting and civil strife in Homs and Damascus sounded all too much like current headlines. Barr's analysis of the British mismanagement of the Jewish and Arab nationalists in Palestine is also pregnant with 21st century consequences. This would be a riveting book for anyone interested in the modern Middle East and its disastrous origins in French and British colonial ambitions.
Jan 04, Agenor rated it really liked it. This book very engagingly recounts this history of the British and French mandates in the Middle East from to the end of the British Mandate in Palestine in with excellent use of primary sources, many of which were recently declassified.
I really enjoyed it and being the first book I have read on this period in the regions history, I was staggered at many of the events that unfolded. The book has quite a narrow focus, recounting specifically the trials and tribulations of the British a This book very engagingly recounts this history of the British and French mandates in the Middle East from to the end of the British Mandate in Palestine in with excellent use of primary sources, many of which were recently declassified.
The book has quite a narrow focus, recounting specifically the trials and tribulations of the British and French in the region without spending too much time explaining the background to the Arab and Jewish organisations and personalities that form such an integral part of this period. As a result I think it is better suited to those with a solid understanding of this period of history already and looking for a more detailed account from the perspective of Anglo-French rivalry, rather than a comprehensive history.
Nevertheless, it is fascinating reading for those looking to understand the events that have lead to the current situation in the Middle East. Barr has done an outstanding job making this particular part of world history come to life. Drawing upon archives of the British an French foreign services and other contemporary sources, this book elegantly ties together the history of the Middle East from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to post-war Palestine.
There are few good guys and lots of scoundrels in this vivid narrative of collapsing empires, power plays to clinging onto control of economic and strategic interests and as always Mr.
There are few good guys and lots of scoundrels in this vivid narrative of collapsing empires, power plays to clinging onto control of economic and strategic interests and as always the little guy local populations getting the short end of the deal. If you ever had any illusions about noble intents of international politics now and then?
Personally this book helped place in perspective the mess that is the Middle East of today: Syria, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, etc. Jan 23, Viswanathan Venkataraman rated it liked it. Of no great importance in the present geopolitical scene, after all today France and Britain are minor players. Both the scope seems to be very narrow concerned and detailing the ways and means through which Britain and France were under cutting each other.
Nov 17, The Laughing Man rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book should be read with the book Berlin-Baghdad Express by Sean McMeekin, it will explain you how todays Middle East was formed, how France and England stirred up the place and how Jews were betrayed after paying for the land in gold after king Faisal died. You will come across shocking details and information that will surely shake your beliefs. Oct 29, Eugene Novikov rated it liked it.
Written in a casual, novelistic style, but the barrage of new characters and in-the-weeds developments is so relentless that things get a bit wearying by the end. Jul 31, Mohammed Abdelkafi rated it really liked it. Gonna reread some of it later, definitely. Apr 25, Koit rated it really liked it. A very well written overview of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the ensuing trouble in the Middle East.
A look at the men and events that defined the middle east today. History written in way that is enticing. Dec 29, Emmanuel Gustin rated it it was amazing Shelves: A line in the Sand is a fairly typical product of history based on archival research.
In this case James Barr explored mostly British, and some French, political, diplomatic and military archives. The end product could very well have been a little dusty and dry. But it isn't, because the material in those archives is explosive and appalling.
With some regularity, revisionist historians as well as politicians of a somewhat putrified strain still attempt make a case for the merits of colonialism an A line in the Sand is a fairly typical product of history based on archival research. With some regularity, revisionist historians as well as politicians of a somewhat putrified strain still attempt make a case for the merits of colonialism and imperialism.
They prefer to forget just how much these grand colonial empires depended on exploiting the economic, ethnic and religious divisions of the people they ruled, and the dire consequences this had on the longer term. Barr's detailed case study casts a harsh light on about thirty years of British and French imperialism in the region that now contains Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine -- the states themselves the arbitrary creations of the foreign powers.
He shows how British and French officials, competing with each other for supremacy in the region, arrogantly fomented conflict and distributed weapons, and had the consequences of their faithlessness and recklessness flung back in their faces.
If they conspicuously failed to learn from the experience, it was probably because insight and empire were not compatible. This is a somewhat one-sided account, told mostly from a British perspective. The French don't emerge from it with any credit, but then their actions in the region -- such as turning their artillery on Damascus in both and -- are thoroughly undeserving of any praise. British officials are by and large treated with much more sympathy, though not necessarily all of them, and a few are singled out for harsh condemnation.
And most regrettably of all, the scope of this study barely gives a voice to the people of the region itself. Their leaders participate almost as extras in this story, some with a bit of background, but rarely described with any depth. The exceptions are some Jewish leaders, presumably because they wrote their own accounts in English or had them translated into English.
Their part of the story, the successful terrorist campaign that finally induced the British to abandon their mandate over Palestine in , is particularly grim. But after reading this book, one is tempted to cite Pope Julius II: Fuori i barbari! Out with the barbarians! It is useless to speculate about what would have happened in the region if foreign powers had not sought to carve it up between them, but one can forgive the people in the Middle East for being tired of the foreign meddling that has never been free of disastrously short-sighted selfishness.
Mar 26, Javier HG rated it really liked it. Lo dicho, imprescindible. May 24, Lango rated it it was amazing.
A First class history of the more recent middle eastern. The honesty throughout the book dealing with changing political situations both locally and globally that spurred the changing shape of middle eastern aspirations, alliances and opponents is fascinating. This period of history encapsulates a period of huge change not least the two world wars and the resultant outcomes including the final collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the start of the end of colonialism.
The history lays bare the machi A First class history of the more recent middle eastern. The history lays bare the machinations that occurred on all sides as they attempted to drive their own agendas forward whether that be control of vital sources of energy to fuel defence and the war effort, self government or establishment of a new state.
These forces ultimately are played out on the ground with real people and in this case a lot of violence. I felt the author was balanced in his view of all sides unlike one or two other reviewers , I would ask them to examine their own biases first before accusing the historian who appears to have no axe to grind and has access to all the evidence. If one side or other is portrayed in a less than perfect light then the evidence will reveal this or point in this direction.
To me it looks like all side British, French, American , Arab and Jewish played the violence card when it suited their aims or the pace they wanted to move at and as now all frequently changed views and alliances to for short term expedience. Ultimately both the Lebanon and Israel were founded to keep one side of the colonial powers in the region. Both of these states are an re establishment of a much earlier shape in the area of a Jewish state and a Christian state that subsequent history had erased.
A great book to unravel all this! There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Readers also enjoyed. About James Barr.
James Barr. I read Modern History at Oxford University. Since then I've worked in Westminster in politics, as a leader-writer for the Daily Telegraph, in the City and most recently in Paris.
Now, I'm back in London. Something that struck me while I was working on that book was the degree of rivalry betwee I read Modern History at Oxford University. Something that struck me while I was working on that book was the degree of rivalry between Britain and France for dominance in the Middle East.
A Line in the Sand - my latest book - picks up this theme, and describes how this little-known struggle transformed the Middle East, from the destruction of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War to the violent birth of the state of Israel in I have started work on my next book.
Books by James Barr. Trivia About A Line in the San As always, Seymour, has a great array of characters including Perry and his family, Barnaby, Fenton and Markham from MI5, pol Seymour never fails with his detailed, sophisticated, multilayered novels.
But, Seymour clashes these characters against community, family and friends and regular law abiding citizens who just want to live their day to day lives peacefully and away from guns and violence.
Seymour writes about pyrrhic victories where the so called winners move on with what life they have left while the losers end up either dead or in jail. But, this story is more than that, he illustrates choices that people have to make when faced with guns and the violence that they bring as well as the hardship that the job puts on these people who carry them.
He asks the question, whether or not is it better to be a coward and just accept the problems in life or is it better to stand up for yourself and suffer the consequences?
Make informed decisions with the FT.
One of his very best! Feb 24, Jak60 rated it did not like it. Seymour's style seems to be conceived to make the reader's life difficult; the book is divided into long chapters, and each chapter into many short sub-chapters and at the beginning of each sub-chapter I found myself wondering "what is he talking about now?
So you are kept waiting that these many scattered fragments of story tie up together, meanwhile you are left with the challenge to keep all of them in mind. Very tiresome. This is my third book by Seymour, I think I gave him a more than fair chance, now I'm done with him. Jul 04, Michael Martz rated it really liked it. Line in the Sand is a great example of why I'm such a fan of Gerald Seymour. He's a talented writer who knows the business of spying, the Middle East, and police procedures, and he knows how to put together a story that truly engages the reader.
In this case, the main character happens to betray the wrong Iranians, he's holed up with an assumed identity in a small English coastal town, an assassin has been dispatched to gain revenge, and rather than running he elects to stay with his family under Line in the Sand is a great example of why I'm such a fan of Gerald Seymour.
In this case, the main character happens to betray the wrong Iranians, he's holed up with an assumed identity in a small English coastal town, an assassin has been dispatched to gain revenge, and rather than running he elects to stay with his family under the 'protection' of the British government. Everyone knows the assassin is on the way, they just don't know who he is or how he plans to attack, and the book covers the preparation, the behind the scenes work to identify the attacker, and the eventual resolution.
I really loved this book, but in typical Seymour fashion he introduces viewpoints and characters that, at the time, you have no idea how they fit into the picture. They eventually do become part of the story, but to me it's a bit distracting in that I'm constantly trying to figure out how they'll be introduced into the action. Other than that, it's a great read, well-written with excellent character development and a satisfying conclusion.
I recommend it highly! Apr 22, David Roberts rated it really liked it. The action goes along at a nice pace and it is about a fairly topical subject, the nuclear program in Iran. Interestingly this book was written in which is probably a little before that became big news. The plot is a british spy called Perry has spent years grooming contacts so that he can gain access to the Iranian nuclear project and destroys it in a way that wil I am reviewing the novel A Line In The sand by Gerald Seymour which is a very good thriller and which I borrowed from a friend.
The plot is a british spy called Perry has spent years grooming contacts so that he can gain access to the Iranian nuclear project and destroys it in a way that will take years for them to recover. A while later they send one of their best hitmen to kill him and brings with him his partner an english lady who has become a muslim and become radicalized. When the security services tell Perry his life is in danger he is working in a civilian job and is rather dismissive but they keep an eye on him because they are desperate to catch this assassin.
The assassin rapes and murders a lady and they realise he is wounded and there is a long chase at the end and there is a happy ending.
A Line in the Sand : Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East
I tried. I really, really tried, but I simply could NOT get into this book. I usually give a novel one chapter to draw me in, but because of all the good reviews this book received, I read five.
It was no good. I was bored. I just didn't care about the characters or the plot. I love thrillers, but this one left me cold.
It's not that Seymour is a bad writer, he just isn't a very good one. There was nothing wrong with his writing, aside from leaving the reader bored and wondering when the action w I tried. There was nothing wrong with his writing, aside from leaving the reader bored and wondering when the action would start. There are too many good books out there to waste your time on a boring one.
This is strictly my opinion. Several other reviewers loved this book, so to each his own. This was my first Gerald Seymour book and will probably be my last.
Sep 07, Teresa rated it it was ok Shelves: But despite the book's good bones I gave up a third of the way in. Narrative perspective kept shifting and I was forced to re-read paragraphs repeatedly to figure out who was in play. The characters were drawn dispassionately, with everyone seeming to be a bureaucrat and no hope for a hero to emerge. Jan 10, Ann Foweraker rated it really liked it. Good story, though a steady pace rather than fast. Like the getting to know people, didn't like the way a new paragraph would talk about 'he' and it could be any one of three main or other minor male characters as the featured 'he' of that paragraph - confusing and not needed, plot convoluted enough without this.
Nov 04, Lynette Barfield rated it it was amazing. I found this to be an outstanding book, emotional and suspenseful. I have read others by this author and haven't been disappointed at all. I intend to read everything I can find by him. Highly recommend this to anyone. Apr 16, Surani Neangoda rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. A story about an undercover agent in Iran. The search to destroy him by Vahid Hossein and how the British Government takes responsibility to take care of their source. It is tragic that Meryl has to pay the price with her life. Religious fanatism is scary. View 2 comments.
Mar 23, Lee rated it it was amazing. Great tale of efforts to protect ex civilian spy when Iranian govt find out his new identity. Usual great pacing and characterisation I have come to expect from Seymour. Suffolk, spied, Iranian, assassin, bureaucracy. Frank Perry, the Anvil,. Feb 12, Stephen rated it it was amazing.
Brilliant, emotional, utterly believable. Jun 08, Rod Zemke rated it really liked it. So-so reading. Stephen rated it really liked it Nov 22, Jane rated it liked it Aug 13, I found the entire book most horribly addictive' — Independent 'Lively and entertaining.
All in all it was a good story though - heartbreaking in many respects because of how the community, in their fear, turned 3. Very tiresome. Frank Perry, the Anvil,. More filters. Error rating book. James Barr's lively account provides some quite astounding sketches of bluster, bickering and bravado' — BBC History Magazine The struggle between Britain and France for mastery of the Middle East between and the late s, is analysed by James Barr in his excellent new book.
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