Power, Faith and Fantasy

From March ’07 Spotlight: Michael J. Oren, author of the award-winning book Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, was in Chicago on February 8 to promote his new book Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East (1776 to the Present). The event, sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, was so packed that Hilton staff had to scurry around for extra chairs.

Power, Faith, and Fantasy is huge and scholarly with over 600 pages of text followed by rich footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography. Nevertheless, Oren did a masterful job of succinctly explaining his three themes (power, faith and fantasy), and illustrating them with fascinating anecdotes from the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. For example, when contemplating our current options in Iraq, Gaza, etc, Oren wants us to remember that the well-known line in the Marine Corps anthem “… to the shores of Tripoli…” refers to America’s war against the Barbary Pirates (1783 to 1815). Then as now, according to Oren, when dealing with terrorists, the basic choice is the same: to fight or to bribe?

Oren’s presentation is available on C-SPAN’s BOOK-TV. To watch, visit:

http://www.booktv.org/General/index.asp?segID=7858&schedID=472

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