Until the early 1990s - the insistent writings of John Terraine notwithstanding - the campaign in Palestine in 1917 and 1918 was, more often than not, portrayed by historians and military commentators as perhaps the most attractive, significant and viable alternative to the carnage of the Western Front.
Few areas of historical enquiry resonate with such contemporary relevance as the Arab-Israeli conflict, and any scholar attempting a book on the subject is walking into a politically charged minefield. Historians enquiring after the 'truth' are accused of partisan bias: after all, they must either be supporters of Zionism or the Arab cause.
How should we read the Crusades? The question begs a host of others, not least how do we read them, in the light of how we have read them in the past.
The flight of Jews out of Nazi Germany has been the subject of much attention. Virtually every country that witnessed the entry of Jews in the 1930s has had its experiences discussed in at least one book.(1) Britain is no exception.
In a memorandum for the Committee of Imperial Defence dated 10 July 1920 Harold Nicolson, whose family connection with these matters dated back to the time when his father Lord Carnock entered the Foreign Office, namely 1870, wrote:
It is curious that it should have taken imperial proconsul Lord Cromer (1841–1917, Evelyn Baring until 1892) nearly a century to find a scholarly biographer worthy of his centrality to British, imperial and Egyptian history in the Victorian-Edwardian age.
Though in terms of global importance Egypt cannot compare to either China or the Soviet Union, the subjects of other recent works published by Frank Cass in which former senior Israeli officials have chronicled their experiences representing the Jewish state in the diplomatic arena,(1) the importance of Egypt as a ‘pivotal state’ in the Near East cannot be exaggerated.
There is probably no other region in today's world whose domestic and international politics have been more personalised than the Middle East. Not only have absolute leaders dominated the regional political scene for decades, superseding state institutions and personalising the national interest, but quite a few states have been established to satisfy the personal ambitions of local rulers.
D. K. Fieldhouse’s goal in this major comparative study of British and French imperialism in the Middle East is to consider the effects of the imposition of the mandate system on the former Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire.