The wave of change in the Arab world caught everyone unawares. Mass movements demanding democracy in the Middle East and North Africa? Where did they come from? The activists expressed their own astonishment at what they were doing. It is hardly surprising that, outside the region, experts and averagely interested people alike have been hunting for answers.
From the author of the bestselling State of the World Atlas, here is an essential tool for understanding the Middle East and its pivotal role in global politics.
The region is overlaid by a web of fault lines, which Dan Smith uncovers with his customarily acute analysis. Using maps and graphics, he demonstrates why what happens in the Middle East happens, and why it is has an impact on us all.
The atlas covers a wide range of topics, including: • imperial legacies • ethnic and religious differences • US presence and policies • Arab-Israeli wars • Israel and Palestine • Iran and Iraq • military spending • the Kurds • Libya and the USA • oil and water
Listen to Dan Smith talking about Middle East issues here.
Greg Shapland, former Head of Research Analysts, Foreign & Commonwealth Office11 May 2015
I can't think of a better introduction to the complexities of the Middle East than Dan Smith's The State of the Middle East. It sets out the background to present-day developments clearly and concisely. The narrative is highly readable and the beautifully-presented maps and diagrams, together with the brief chronologies, provide a user-friendly complement to it. The thematic studies and 'Arenas of Conflict' are well-chosen, too. All in all, highly recommended.
As a source of instantly accessible information it is hard to imagine [this book] being bettered. It should be a basic reference for anyone trying to understand the complexities of the Middle East today.
'Ever since the pre-war days of Lancelot Horabin, maps have been a time-honoured way of conveying information to activists and this series has garnered plaudits for its graphical representation of everything from climate change to the status of women. Dan Smith has already produced two for them, The Atlas of War and Peace and The State of the World Atlas, both widely and deservedly praised. This latest one is in the same, brilliantly researched and effectively presented tradition. Since the world's warmongers seem to have seized upon the Middle East as their hegemonic area of choice, this atlas ought to be in every peace worker's armoury of information.
International Socialist Group
This book shows why there is still a need for reference books, at a time when we have almost limitless access to the internet... it decisively outscores both Google and Wikipedia on their two weakest points - context and provenance.
Successfully educates the reader about the Middle East region and the conflicts, both historical and modern, that have led to the current situation in this part of the world.
A reference work of excellent quality and as up to the minute as is possible in a printed publication. Packed with information, it is presented exceptionally well... an excellent introduction but also holds much useful information for those with prior knowledge. Dan Smith has achieved clarity about a situation which is so complex that many others would not want to tackle it. This is a must have and must read for anyone who wants to be informed (rather than shaped by propaganda) on this important set of issues.