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Into the Labyrinth

  • Date Submitted: 03/08/2014 11:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 60.7 
  • Words: 430
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In H.W. Brands’ Into the Labyrinth: The United States and the Middle East 1945 – 1993 published by McGraw-Hill, Inc. in 1994, H.W. Brands discusses U.S. relationship with the Middle East through, what I would consider, the eyes of an American historian, to put it simply. While I recognize that it reflects on U.S. relations with the Middle East more comprehensively than most books of the same genre, I feel that the author skimmed through some of the more major events in Middle East’s history with the United States in an almost condescending manner.    
    Upon introducing the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the 1973 oil crisis they caused (p.136), I anticipated a chapter that described just how drastic and history changing this move was on the part of the Arab countries involved. However, by the line, “Had Americans maintained their composure, they could have ridden out the oil embargo with minor discomfort.” (p.139), I began to feel that this would not be the case. As this book is primarily about U.S. relation to the Middle East, and not vice versa, I, as a student who learned about that aforementioned vice versa relationship in a Middle Eastern high school, can see the difference in how the event is spoken about. While the author spoke about the event in a way that depicted the Arab countries as throwing a tantrum that simply had to be waited out, my history textbooks speak about the embargo with a “hold your held high” mentality. As I studied in Saudi Arabia, the country’s monarch King Faisal was especially praised for his commitment. I found it interesting that this book did not reference the conspiracy behind his assassination that many believed to be associated with this oil crisis. At the end of the short reference to the oil crisis, the author mentions that while it caused much difficulty for the American lifestyle, it had very little effect on United States’ Middle East policy and goes as far as describing the strategy for attempt at...

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