The Middle East, as we know it today, was shaped in the violent and tumultuous years of the first half of the 20th century. The roots of many of the conflicts and crises which afflict the region today can be traced back to this period of wars, high drama and the cavalier re-drawing of maps. Patrick Seale, a leading historian of the region, tells the story of the making of the modern Middle East through the life of Riad el-Solh, a Lebanese politician who grew into the outstanding Arab statesman of his time. Based on British and French archives, and on numerous interviews, the book pieces together the history of the Arab struggle for independence through the lives of those most directly involved. It is an invaluable resource for students and researchers, and of compelling interest to anyone who wants to know more about the Middle East.
Patrick Seale worked for Reuters news agency for six years and for more than a dozen years on the staff of The Observer as Middle East correspondent, Paris correspondent, and roving correspondent in Africa and the Indian subcontinent. He currently runs a consultancy on Middle East affairs. He has written extensively on the Middle East and his other books include Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East (1998, 1992) and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire (1992).