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The Meta-Discussion 
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post The Meta-Discussion
I thought we could use a place to post asides and random comments about the process of reading & posting on this book.


For example:

I'm popping back into the fray after a week of being Internet-less, not to mention busy moving, and I truly appreciate the thoughtful comments & discussion that has already taken place. I'm not a huge reader of history, so I'm avidly devouring the discussion, and taking it back to the book, and hope to have something constructive to add soon.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Wed Jul 05, 2006 9:33 am
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The Pope of Literature


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Another good idea, Loricat.

I've had the book on haitus for a little while -- my weekend was dominated by party planning and personal drama -- but I'm getting ready to launch back into it.




Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:48 pm
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Mad, I hope the party was great, and the personal drama understated!

Guys, I just wanted to comment briefly on my style & motivation here. I'm reading this book because I've felt in the dark about events in the modern Middle East for far too long -- I have not read much of anything on it in the past. I do, on the other hand, know the basics of the areas history, so I'm not lost in the book's references, nor those in the discussion.

My posts, I'm finding, are going to be mostly questions...it's partly how I function after 12 years as a teacher, stimulating discussion, but also mostly because these questions/comments are what are on my post-it notes in the book. I'm not feeling terribly opinionated about this book, because I don't have the background to critique it -- so I'm reading your comments avidly, and then tossing out other elements for you to dissect.

Just an FYI.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Thu Jul 06, 2006 10:05 am
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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Figure this is as good a place as any to mention that I finished the book last night, and my advice to anyone who is getting bogged down in the early sections is KEEP READING!

Three Reasons Why This is an Excellent Book for Discussion:

1. The author wrote the book with a point-of-view that can be attacked/defended.

2. The book is relevant to contemporary problems.

3. The historical era is not treated comprehensively, so a group reading and discussion can help fill in the gaps.




Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:50 pm
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Masters


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
As my meta-comment, I'm glad that this book was chosen, even though I voted against it. My concern about having "nothing to talk about" ended up being totally unfounded.




Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:29 am
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The Pope of Literature


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Glad to hear you're enjoying the conversation so far, Julian. I think this discussion is likely to blow up as we get into it. I'm going rather slow, but I can already see a thousand topics that are worth bringing up.

Geez, Seabolt, you blew right through the book, didn't you? I hope that you'll be willing to go back and look over passages as they come up in other threads. I for one have a hard time keeping tabs on everything in a book this densely packed with information.




Fri Jul 07, 2006 1:54 pm
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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Just a little aside on where I'm planning on going with my own reading of the book. A lot of the emphasis in the discussion thus far has been on the decisions of the European powers and whether or not they were just or prudent in their actions. Part of my reason for wanting to read the book, though, was the hope that it would shed some light on the history and decisions that have played a part in shaping the psychology and perceptions of those living in the Middle East, much the same way that you might attempt to understand some fraction of the American character by reading up on Civil War history. I'm not suggesting that anyone else need follow me in considering that point of view, and I'll definitely still look at the other topics that Fromkin and the BookTalk participants raise. But this is there, too, if you're interested.




Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:24 pm
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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
MadArchitect: I hope that you'll be willing to go back and look over passages as they come up in other threads.

No problem. I highlight and do a lot of scribbling in the margins to make it easy to reread.

While I'm here in meta land this is a good time to complain about the maps in this book -- THEY SUCK!@!

When folks get to the Sykes-Picot chapter, I'd recommend trotting over to Wikipedia to look at their Sykes-Picot Agreement article that has a nice colored map of what Sykes promised to his friend Picot. Seems to me that Fromkin's main argument hinges on the similarity between Sykes-Picot and the actual borders that emerged, and a good map is necessary for making this comparison.




Sat Jul 08, 2006 9:09 pm
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Quote:
Part of my reason for wanting to read the book, though, was the hope that it would shed some light on the history and decisions that have played a part in shaping the psychology and perceptions of those living in the Middle East, much the same way that you might attempt to understand some fraction of the American character by reading up on Civil War history.


Mad, that's why I'm 'here' too. I do not understand why in some parts of the world, different peoples get along, and in others, they don't.

Quote:
When folks get to the Sykes-Picot chapter
Thanks, J Seabolt -- but which one would that be?? :\

Thanks.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Sun Jul 09, 2006 12:52 pm
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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Loricat: Thanks, J Seabolt -- but which one would that be??

Chapter 24 "Making Promises to the European Allies" is the Sykes-Picot chapter. It starts on p.188. The reason I mentioned the map is that I read through the chapter and struggled to picture what was going on without looking at a map. Then when I finally took the time to check out a map I realized that I didn't do a very good job of picturing what was going on. A good collection of maps would have helped this book a lot.




Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:55 pm
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: The Meta-Discussion
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind when I get to that chapter.

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:04 pm
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