RiverCoil: eh. i don't think historians should make judgements when writing history.
Historians can, must and do make judgements all the time when writing history: who they select as primary agents, which voices are heard, decisions referred to, discussions, debates, conflicts, settings....all of these elements are the result of judgements a historian must make in telling his/her story. I think these are moral choices, and they reflect the alliances and allegiences from which the historian emerges and to whom he/she is speaking to, as well as the kind of world the historian envisions as good and necessary.
Who is put in front and who is left out, why certain characters get prime billing and others are left in the parking lot....these decisions are forever part of the mix and I don't think they are either neutral or objective.
Still, the craft of historical research and writing rests upon many objective goals: accurate portrayal of existing evidence being most prominent. A key problem involves the incomplete nature of human memory: recollection, retention, retrieval, etc. Add to that the roles of confusion, ignorance, aggradizement, and outright deception...as well as purposeful ommission, avoidance and denial...it becomes a complicated endeavor to say the least.
History is full of gaps and it is the historian's task to clarify with the reader where these gaps lie. I think the integration of these gaps into the historian's narrative is largely an imaginative, artisitc leap tied to political allegiences and with moral consequences.
I think Fromkin's choice to accentuate these few men as the primary agents for the birth of the Middle East and the 20th Century has many merits. The greatest of which, as I see it, is the clear incompetency that flows from submitting the lives of millions to the ignorant ambitions of a few persons.