The Making of the Modern Middle East: A Personal History

Jeremy Bowen

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A Sunday Times Paperback of the Year
Spectator and New Statesman Book of the Year
‘An illuminating and riveting read.’ - Jonathan Dimbleby

Jeremy Bowen, the International Editor of the BBC, has been covering the Middle East since 1989 and is uniquely placed to explain its complex past and its troubled present. Here, Bowen offers readers a gripping and invaluable guide to the modern Middle East, how it came to be and what its future might hold.

The Making of the Modern Middle East – in part based on his acclaimed podcast, ‘Our Man in the Middle East’  Bowen takes us on a journey across the Middle East and through its history. He meets ordinary men and women on the front line, their leaders, whether brutal or benign, and he explores the power games that have so often wreaked devastation on civilian populations as those leaders, whatever their motives, jostle for political, religious and economic control.

Clear throughout is Bowen's deep understanding of the political, cultural and religious differences between countries as diverse as Erdogan’s Turkey, Assad’s Syria, Netanyahu’s Israel, and Palestine, whether Hamas-controlled Gaza or the West Bank, and his long experience of covering events in the region.



Written with modesty, grace and compassion, his account of 30 years working in the Middle East for the BBC combines his own personal experience with and a rare understanding of what makes this tortured region so dangerously combustible . . . The result is an illuminating and riveting read. -- Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster, author and historian

Arresting . . . 
excellent, doom-freighted -- Justin Marozzi ― The Times

Bears witness to how lofty dreams of the post-Cold War period crashed and burned ... with 
deep empathy and understanding of the roots of the conflict. -- Emma Sky ― The New Statesman

compelling blend of sweeping history and vivid memoir . . . Bowen paints in the historical background masterfully and manages to convey the pressure, euphoria and horror of war reporting as well. ― Mail on Sunday

gripping and compelling account that swings between gut-wrenching eyewitness stories and dispassionate analysis, laying bare the hopes and horrors of the Middle East in the twenty-first century. A remarkable book. -- Professor Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History

This book is 
a very personal and erudite history of a troubled region where enemies of impartiality abound, though some don’t even live there. I highly recommend this fascinating book which is also a testament to a better era in journalism. -- Michael Burleigh, author of The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now

This is a 
wise, compelling, fast-paced book - essential reading if you wish to make sense of the forces that have convulsed the Middle East, as well as unsettling all our lives, since the end of the Cold War. -- Jason Cowley, author of Who Are We Now? and Editor in Chief of The New Statesman

Few people are as well placed to authoritatively depict the making of the modern Middle East than Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s long-serving correspondent in the region . . . 
excellent  The New European

Jeremy Bowen is a master of succinct writing for television and in print, and his skill is showcased to brilliant effect in this distillation of decades of experience reporting from the Middle East. It’s a terrific book, pithy and pacy, equally at home telling stories of ordinary people as in encounters with princes and presidents. -- Matthew Teller, journalist and author of 
Nine Quarters of Jerusalem

Jeremy Bowen is uniquely qualified to analyse and explain the region’s complex political and religious landscape. His book should be essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of this fascinating, but deeply troubled, part of the world. -- Con Coughlin, author of Saddam: The Secret Life and Khomeini's Ghost

About the Author

Jeremy Bowen is a journalist with a vast knowledge and experience of the Middle East. From 1995-2000, he was based in Jerusalem as the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, winning awards from television festivals in New York and Monte Carlo, as well as a Best Breaking News report from the Royal Television Society on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. During the Kosovo crisis of 1999, he reported extensively from the region, often in dangerous conditions, which included being robbed at gunpoint by bandits whilst reporting from the Albanian border. He has been BBC Middle East Editor since 2005. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including Six Days: How the 1967 War Shaped the Middle East and The Arab Uprisings. He lives in London.

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