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Politics & Government

The Ameer Abdur Rahman

Stephen Wheller, 1895

Abdur Rahman Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. Wheller's account presents a detailed picture of the Ameer's life, discussing his upbringing, his rule, and the impact of his regime. Rahman's reign was significant in that he helped settle the terms of the British evacuation of Afghanistan. Though he was bound to align his foreign policy with the British, he was the first leader of a modern, independent, Afghanistan.


The Long Road to Baghdad

Edmund Candler, 1919

It should be noted that another book, recently written, is titled The Load Road to Baghdad; we have been to Baghdad many times, it seems. This account was written in 1919 after the close of World War I. Candler was the official British army "Eyewitness," and he here outlines, documents, and describes the British Mesopotamian campaign. While his account is similar in tone to some of the military histories within this collection, his writing is decidedly political, and he examines the policy implications of penetrating the Gulf region, even discussing the necessity of protecting the local oil fields. The parallels between the British campaign and recent American forays into the region are striking.

The life of Midhat Pasha; a record of his services, political reforms, banishment, and judicial murder, derived from private documents and reminiscences

Ali Haydar Midhat, 1903

This biography was written by Pasha's son. Midhat Pasha's life was dedicated to politics, and this account is no mere summary of his deeds. Indeed, Ali writes both to illuminate his father's legacy and to excoriate the oppressive policies of the Ottoman regime that contributed directly toward the latter's death, and his account is gripping and informative. Ali also argues that the reforms associated with Midhat Pasha were conceived in the very spirit of the early Ottoman Constitution, and that his father only sought to serve the will of the people. While Ali is obviously and unapologetically bitter, there is much to be learned here.

American policy : The western hemisphere in its relation to the eastern

John Bigelow, 1914

When this book was written, much of American foreign policy was governed by the Monroe Doctrine. Bigelow seeks to explain the Monroe Doctrine; to show its bearing and that of Washington's Farewell Address on US affairs; and to expound upon the theory of Pan Americanism in its relation to the Monroe Doctrine. Bigelow does not focus on the Orient, and merely alludes to the nascent power politics at play between the US, Japan, and Russia in the Eastern theatre. Still, his account is clear and useful for understanding US foreign policy at the twilight of the imperial era.

The awakening of Turkey : a history of the Turkish revolution

E. F. Knight, 1909

Knight's book seeks to give an account of the growth of the Young Turk movement and the story of their revolution. The Young Turks was a secularist Turkish nationalist reform party that sought to reform the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire. Their leaders led a rebellion against Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Knight was British, and his account offered the most complete picture of the revolution at the time of his writing. He is guilty of the bigotry that plagued much of the writings of that period, but his prose is clever, clear, and informative.

The conflict of East and West in Egypt

John Eliot Bowen, 1887

This fascinating book was actually John Bowen's doctoral thesis. He traces the roots of European and Egyptian conflict, beginning with the construction of the Suez Canal. His writing is incredibly detailed and well-sourced, and he discusses the economics precursors for conflict at length. He does not focus on race or religion, but instead relies on a political calculus to make his assessments.

Politics & Government
Politics & Government