This month, three lucky readers have the chance to win a copy of The Great War in the Middle East by Rob Johnson courtesy of Oxford University Press.
The First World War in the Middle East swept away 500 years of Ottoman domination. It ushered in new ideologies and radicalised old ones – from Arab nationalism and revolutionary socialism to impassioned forms of Islamism. It created heroic icons, like the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia and the reformist Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Military historian and former soldier Rob Johnson argues that, far from being a sideshow to the war in Europe, the Middle Eastern conflict was in fact the centre of gravity in a war for imperial domination and prestige. Moreover, he argues that local leaders and their forces were not simply the puppets of the Great Powers. The way in which these local forces embraced, resisted, succumbed to, disrupted, or (on occasion) overturned the plans of the imperialist powers in their own interests played an important role in shaping the immediate aftermath of the conflict. This, in turn, laid the foundations of the troubled Middle East that we know today.