"Excellent . . . [An] ambitious new history."—Kevin Peraino, Newsweek
"[A World of Trouble] is fast-paced and well-sourced . . . For anyone needing a reminder of how America got into its present pickle in the region, this is a brisk, enjoyable way to get it."—The Economist
"In A World of Trouble, New York Times chief correspondent Patrick Tyler distills 25 years of journalistic experience and a mountain of declassified government documents into an erudite, unusually eloquent analysis of a half century of United States policy toward the Middle East. Relying on information newly made available from presidential archives, Tyler takes readers on a tour of American relations with the Middle East from the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower through that of George W. Bush. But where Tyler particularly excels is in tackling the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, a thorny subject that assumes center stage for several chapters. Though there have been the occasional breakthroughs in reconciliation efforts—principally the Carter-brokered Camp David Accords—Tyler sees the timidity of some US presidents in the face of Israeli hawkishness as a major impediment to lasting peace . . . The US approach to Iraq, which Tyler dissects in meticulous fashion throughout the book, provides another example of baffling inconsistency. Ronald Reagan ended up supporting both sides in the Iran-Iraq War; George H.W. Bush encouraged Shiites to revolt against Saddam Hussein in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, then failed to come to their aid; Bill Clinton dithered on supporting CIA-organized Iraqi coup plotters, which led to the compromise of the operation and the deaths of the plotters; and George W. Bush invaded Iraq without planning for the postwar period. But Tyler does not restrict himself to presidential blunders. He pointedly assails the machinations of several cabinet members as well. Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon’s secretary of State, emerges as a master manipulator who secretly encouraged the Israelis to violate a cease-fire with the Soviet-backed Egyptians during the October war of 1973. He even withheld an offer Nixon entrusted him with delivering to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, in which the US president proposed a joint superpower initiative to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict . . . Tyler’s recommendations—consistency in US foreign policy, continuous engagement with the Middle East, a more balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, accommodation with the Islamic world combined with an unwavering commitment to punishing terrorists who attack US interests—are forcefully expressed throughout. Serendipitously, the publication of A World of Trouble coincides with the beginning of a new presidency. President-elect Barack Obama and his incoming administration enjoy the perfect opportunity to heed Tyler’s sound advice."—Rayyan Al-Shawaf, The Christian Science Monitor
"The misperceptions and misdeeds of the United States in the Middle East from the time of Dwight Eisenhower to the closing days of the presidency of George W. Bush frame this big book. Eisenhower gets favorable mention for his actions during the Suez crisis in 1956, but few plaudits are to be found thereafter. The Six-Day War on Lyndon Johnson's watch was 'a failure of American diplomacy.' Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is charged with a pro-Israeli slant during the 1973 October War. Indeed, pro-Israeli policy 'failings' constitute something of a leitmotif throughout the book. As for the Bill Clinton years, the headings of the two relevant chapters tell it all: 'Tilting at Peace, Flailing at Saddam' and 'Flight From Terror, Lost Peace.' George W. Bush's war in Iraq is depicted as neither just nor necessary. Tyler's story, told largely in terms of the personal contacts and confrontations between U.S. and Middle Eastern political figures over more than a half century, is well researched and readable."—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs
Patrick Tyler has reported extensively from both the Middle East and Washington for The New York Times and The Washington Post. A Texan, he lives in Washington, D.C.