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IT'S NOT ABOUT RELIGION

by Gregory HarmsSanta Monica: Perceval Press, 2012. 106 pages.

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BACK COVER: When the Middle East is covered on the news or depicted in film, what is shown is a region defined almost exclusively by violence, chaos, and extremism, and a common question often arises in response: Does religion have anything to do with it?

In this concise book, Gregory Harms examines a range of topics in an effort to answer the question. As the book's title indicates, the region's woes and instability are in fact not caused by biblical or Islamic factors. Harms reveals a list of entirely secular factors and realities as he examines how and why Americans view the Arab Middle East the way they do; the history of European and U.S. involvement in the region; the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism; and how academics and the mass media tend to discuss the region and its inhabitants.

In roughly one hundred pages, the reader is shown a constellation of history and culture that will hopefully help move the conversation of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in a more grounded and precise direction.






THE PALESTINE-ISRAEL CONFLICT:
A Basic Introduction, 3rd ed.

by Gregory Harms, with Todd M. FerryLondon: Pluto Press, 2012. 288 pages.

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BACK COVER: The Palestine-israel conflict is the most notorious conflict of the twentieth, and now twenty-first, century. Yet the way it is reported in the media is often confusing, leading many to assume the hostilities stretch back to an ancient period. This accessible introduction covers the full history of the region, from biblical times until today. Perfect for the general reader, as well as students, it offers a comprehensive yet lucid rendering of the conflict, setting it in its proper historical context. Harms and Ferry show how today's violence is very much a product of recent history, with its roots in the twentieth century. This third edition is fully updated, including an analysis of the ongoing situation in Gaza.






STRAIGHT POWER CONCEPTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST:
US Foreign Policy, Israel, and World History

by Gregory HarmsLondon: Pluto Press, 2010. 240 pages.

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How did the US become a world power?
How did it become involved in the Middle East?
What is the history and nature of its "special relationship" with Israel?


AMAZON COPY: Given the increase in tensions in the Middle East, and the United States' involvement in them, news coverage is in abundance. Yet, the reportage and discussion of American foreign policy is often narrow in scope, offering little background or context. The subject is routinely treated with the vocabulary provided by government officials, presenting best intentions while conceding occasional mistakes and unfortunate incidents. As Gregory Harms demonstrates in Straight Power Concepts, the historical record bears out a different vocabulary and tells a story that sharply contrasts with the common assumptions.

In this brief and accessible account, the reader is guided through the panoramic sweep of world and American history, reviewing how the US became a world power, how the Middle East became "modern," and how Israel became an American "strategic asset." In doing so, the book provides a broad frame of reference, illustrating that recent developments are closer to business-as-usual and nothing resembling the rhetoric commonly used by heads of state, press secretaries, news media, and commentators.

As in his highly successful book The Palestine-Israel Conflict, Harms makes complex subjects accessible to everyone, without sacrificing analytical rigor. This book should be the first port of call for students and anyone seeking clarity and a historical elucidation of current events involving the United States, Israel, and the Middle East.






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