A Peace to End All Peace Book Summary - A Peace to End All Peace Book explained in key points
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A Peace to End All Peace summary

David Fromkin

The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and Creation of the Modern Middle East

4.5 (288 ratings)
29 mins

Brief summary

'A Peace to End All Peace' by David Fromkin is a historical account of how the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I led to the reshaping of the Middle East, which ultimately resulted in the region's current political turmoil.

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    A Peace to End All Peace
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    At the turn of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire had long been in decline.

    By the turn of the twentieth century, the progress resulting from the Industrial Revolution had pushed the countries of Western Europe to grow both economically and technologically.

    The Ottoman Empire, meanwhile, was called “the sick man of Europe.”

    The empire was a caliphate, or an Islamic monarchy, based not on nationality but religion. In other words, while the empire was ethnically diverse, the majority of its population was Muslim.

    Religion played a central role in peoples’ daily lives. Even for the empire’s minority Christian and Jewish groups, identity was synonymous with religion.

    For people in western Europe, however, the Ottoman Empire seemed like a museum, with its subjects’ daily lives frozen in a past century. Constantinople introduced electric street lights only in 1912, for example – an innovation long common in major European cities.

    Compared to European empires such as those of France or Britain, Ottoman political power didn’t extend much beyond the immediate Turkish heartland, covering only a small fraction of the empire.

    European visitors wondered at the empire’s organization, observing that the vast majority of non-Turkish provinces were self-governed, despite the presence of Ottoman military troops.

    This political arrangement did little to help the Ottomans hold territory. By the early twentieth century, the empire had lost significant areas to encroaching European interests.

    In October 1912, Italy claimed the Ottoman Empire’s only remaining African territory, in what is now Libya. By that time, the majority of its southeastern European territories located in the Balkans, in Greece and in Bulgaria had also been lost.

    So by the start of World War I, all that was left of the great Ottoman Empire was modern-day Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Syria and much of the Arabian peninsula.

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    What is A Peace to End All Peace about?

    The Middle East today is a hotbed of violence and war. Whether the civil war in Syria or the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict, peace in the region seems a far-off dream. Yet how did the Middle East become so unstable? In A Peace to End All Peace (1989), you’ll learn that European colonial ambitions during World War I were the catalyst that led to today’s modern crises.

    A Peace to End All Peace Review

    A Peace to End All Peace (1989) unravels the complexities of the Middle East by examining the aftermath of World War I. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • The book provides a fascinating historical account of the post-war negotiations and decisions that shaped the region, shedding light on its current geopolitical situation.
    • With meticulous research and thorough analysis, it offers a comprehensive understanding of the factors that led to the creation of the modern Middle East.
    • Through its engaging storytelling and vivid descriptions, it brings the historical events and key figures to life, ensuring the narrative never feels dull or dry.

    Best quote from A Peace to End All Peace

    By the early twentieth century, Britain had attained enormous global power with an empire covering 25 percent of the planet.

    —David Fromkin
    example alt text

    Who should read A Peace to End All Peace?

    • Anyone interested in understanding the Middle East
    • Political junkies
    • Students of history or international relations

    About the Author

    David Fromkin is Professor Emeritus in International Relations at Boston University. Before becoming a historian, he worked as a lawyer and political advisor. His many books include Europe’s Last Summer and The King and the Cowboy.

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    A Peace to End All Peace FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Peace to End All Peace?

    The main message of A Peace to End All Peace is the consequences of the flawed post-World War I peace agreements in the Middle East.

    How long does it take to read A Peace to End All Peace?

    The reading time for A Peace to End All Peace varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Peace to End All Peace a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Peace to End All Peace is worth reading for its thorough examination of the aftermath of World War I and the historical context it provides. It offers valuable insights into the complexities of the Middle East.

    Who is the author of A Peace to End All Peace?

    The author of A Peace to End All Peace is David Fromkin.

    What to read after A Peace to End All Peace?

    If you're wondering what to read next after A Peace to End All Peace, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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