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The Pope of Literature


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Post Planning to join in on the discussion?
Since summer's steadily rolling to a close, and BookTalk is soon due to snap out of it's current drought, I thought I'd check in and see if anyone else is still planning on joining the discussion. We've got a pretty good discussion going with the four or five of us, but we'd love to see more participants, and it's certainly not to late to catch up. Sound off if you're thinking of joining in!




Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:55 pm
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
I've just started Fromkin, the latest in a series of books I've been reading in an attempt to get a handle on the deeper issues and history of the Middle East and how they inform current policies of all sides.

Latest reads include Bernard Lewis's "From Babel to Dragomans," and from the other side of the Orientalism debate, Edward Said's "Orientalism."

Also reread Yergin's "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power." His history of oil politics in the region seems especially relevant: the realization by the British, French, and Russians of the necessity of securing stable (!) oil supplies (since oil began replacing coal in the world's navies during the course of WWI) meant negotiating (Allied) control of oil fields as part of the post-war map. This, of course, led to all sorts of political and competitive entanglements with Mid East governments in the years immediately following the war. We continue to reap that harvest.

A similar line of inquiry could be the commercialization of empire, as oil companies became partners in the foreign policies of Europe (and eventually the US). [in the threads about the decline of empire]

I've enjoyed reading the posts. I found you by Googling "Wyndham Deedes."

As I get further into Fromkin, your discussions will be a welcome companion.




Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:24 pm


Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
P.S. I had looked up "oil" in Fromkin's index and found no entry. But in scanning the remainder of the book, I stumbled upon pp 354-360. Will be interested in following up on his take on the beginning of the politics of oil.

Edited by: rstephenbrown at: 8/16/06 9:47 am



Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:40 pm
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The Pope of Literature


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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
Hiya, R, glad you could join in.

Someone else mentioned that they were surprised at how minor a role oil played in Fromkin's book. I think it's probably explicable in two ways. 1) Fromkin probably has valid (which is not to say inarguable) reasons for deciding that oil played very little part in the history of the period in question. 2) Most people associated the whole of the ME's political and economic importance to its oil reserves, and Fromkin may have wanted to counter that assumption by placing the emphasis on other factors of historically equal importance.

I have Said's "Orientalism", and read about the first third, but decided at that point that I should go back and refamiliarize myself with Foucault's "Archaeology of Knowledge" before I got too deep into Said. Once we finish up with Fromkin, maybe I'll revisit Said, and we can discuss that as well.

As for Bernard Lewis, I've read one or two of his books, but some of the criticism and reviews that I've read of him in recent years makes me wonder a bit. It seems that he's tended to shift between two poles, such that he can be an exponent for the beauties of Islam one day, and advisor to the Bush Administration's designs in the ME the next, without any discernible principle to differentiate between the two. I'd be interested in reading two of his books that represented the different poles of that apparant contradiction in order to see how it played out.




Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:45 pm
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sorry, i disappeared on this one. i have had a lot of summer projects i have been working on and also wanted to do some pleasure reading. with all the latest news, i was starting to get angry any time the middle east was mentioned so that also made me lose interest in the book. i still want to finish the book, but i just can't get into it right now so i don't think i will be able to rejoin this discussion.




Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:53 am
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Post I'm a newby
Hello, I'm new. I was wondering if it's to late to get the book and join in????




Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:07 pm
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
It is far from being too late. We've actually got more than a month left in this reading period AND you're joining at the perfect time to help us pick our next nonfiction book or books.

Oh, and welcome to BookTalk! ;)




Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:12 pm
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
Hi, I'm new too and I'm planning to join this discussion. But first I have to find the book, and since I live in Spain, I am looking the way to find it here, as ordering it from Amazon would probably take one month to have it here.

I'll keep you updated.

Regards,
Luis




Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:37 am
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
Finally, I found one copy in stock at Amazon.fr. At worst I'll have it with me in seven days, so you can count on me for september.

Regards,
Luis




Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:57 am
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
Glad to have you aboard, Luis. Now that I've finished up "Breaking the Spell", I'll be devoting a lot more attention to "A Peace to End All Peace", so you can count on having at least one person to discuss with whom to discuss the book.




Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:44 pm
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Post Re: Planning to join in on the discussion?
I'm only half-way through still, so I'm still here.

:-)

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

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:05 pm
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