Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman #BookReview

The influence of the British Empire is everywhere, from the very existence of the United Kingdom to the ethnic composition of our cities. It affects everything, from Prime Ministers’ decisions to send troops to war to the adventurers we admire. From the sports we think we’re good at to the architecture of our buildings; the way we travel to the way we trade; the hopeless losers we will on, and the food we hunger for, the empire is never very far away. In this acute and witty analysis, Jeremy Paxman goes to the very heart of empire. As he describes …

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Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff #BookReview

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

Let’s talk about Fire and Fury. It became a world phenomenon immediately as it came out. And of course, it’s about Trump. Like everything in the news lately, Trump takes center stage. With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous – and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man …

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A Darker State by David Young #BookReview

A Darker State by David Young Cover s

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi. Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger. A Darker State indeed. Need I say more? Well, yeah. Couldn’t wait to get my …

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On Saudi Arabia by Karen Elliott House #BookReview

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Welcome back… to my blog 🙂 I know it’s been a while and I kinda feel bad, but I set this blog up so that I could enjoy it, so that’s what I’m doing. Also, this is the 100th blog post in almost a year of blogging; awesome or what? But let’s get to business. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has spent the last thirty years writing about Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, foreign editor, and then publisher of The Wall Street Journal—an important and timely book that explores all facets of life in this shrouded Kingdom: its tribal past, …

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The Kingdom by Robert Lacey #BookReview

the kingdom. arabia and the house of sa'ud

The Kingdom is also the story of the House of Sa’ud, a dynasty that has fought its way from poverty and obscurity to wealth and power. A family characterised by fierce loyalty among its members, ruthlessness towards its enemies, and dedication to one of the world’s most severe and demanding creeds. In the updated version of his book that Robert Lacey is currently preparing, he examines the challenges facing the world’s wealthiest royal family. What are its chances of survival in the 21st century? The Kingdom by Robert Lacey is the prequel of Inside the Kingdom, that I recently reviewed. …

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Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey #BookReview

Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey

Saudi Arabia is a country defined by paradox: it sits atop some of the richest oil deposits in the world, and yet the country’s roiling disaffection produced sixteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. It is a modern state, driven by contemporary technology, and yet its powerful religious establishment would have its customs and practices rolled back to match those of the Prophet Muhammad over a thousand years ago. In a world where events in the Middle East continue to have geopolitical consequences far beyond the region’s boundaries, an understanding of this complex nation is essential. With Inside the Kingdom, British …

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A Line in the Sand by James Barr #BookReview

A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East

In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them. Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; François Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was designed to relieve tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line would go to France; land south of it, to Britain. The creation of Britain’s ‘mandates’ of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France’s in Lebanon and Syria, made the two …

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