100 books like Envoy to the Promised Land

By James G. McDonald,

Here are 100 books that Envoy to the Promised Land fans have personally recommended if you like Envoy to the Promised Land. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Author Of Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads

From my list on Israel studies.

Who am I?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, DPhil, St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, is Professor of Politics, Founding Director of the Middle East Study Centre, University of Hull; Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Vice President of The Association for Israel Studies. Raphael taught, inter alia, at Oxford (UK), Jerusalem, Haifa (Israel), UCLA, Johns Hopkins (USA), and Nirma University (India). He was twice a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Laws, University College London. Raphael Has published extensively about Israel, including Basic Issues in Israeli Democracy (Hebrew), Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads, and Public Responsibility in Israel (with Ori Arbel-Ganz and Asa Kasher Hebrew).

Raphael's book list on Israel studies

Raphael Cohen-Almagor Why did Raphael love this book?

History is often in the eye of the beholder. There are many histories, not just one. This is true in general and this statement is particularly apt when we discuss the first Arab-Israeli war. When I teach about the conflict, students ask me for an objective account of the war. My answer is that none is in existence but the closest to the truth, in my opinion, is Morris’ account. It is the best book about the war, based on maticulate survey of documents. It provides a thorough explanation of the war in each and every stage.

Morris paid a price for his honesty. I was happy to pave his way into Israeli academia.

By Benny Morris,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1948 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Benny Morris demolishes misconceptions and provides a comprehensive history of the Israeli-Arab war of 1948

This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side-where the archives are still closed-is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.

Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout,…


Book cover of Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

As I wrote in the Foreword to the English edition of Küntzel’s work, published first in Germany in 2002, Küntzel synthesized a large body of scholarship in English and German that examined Nazi Germany’s propaganda aimed at the Arab world, as well as the collaboration of Haj Amin el-Husseini with Nazi propaganda efforts. I welcomed Küntzel’s exploration of Nazi Germany’s impact outside Europe, and its aftereffects in Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and then the members of Al Qaeda who carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001.

By Matthias Küntzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jihad and Jew-Hatred as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 traces the impact of European fascism and Nazism on Arab and Islamic activists. As Kuentzel investigates the shift of global antisemitism from Nazi Germany to parts of the Arab world during and after World War II, he argues that antisemitism is not merely a supplementary feature of modern jihadism, but lies instead at its ideological core. This fascinating study lays bare the antecedents of the antisemitism that runs rampant in our world today. For anyone interested in exploring the mindset of hatred that led to the crimes in New York…


Book cover of A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Radosh and Radosh offer a compelling and dramatic history of Truman’s decision to support Jewish emigration to Palestine in 1947, and to recognize the state of Israel in 1948. They examine Truman’s dilemmas as he made the recognition decision against the advice of the leaders of his own State Department, including his own Secretary of State George Marshall. A Safe Haven offers a careful and essential guide to American politics regarding the Zionist issue, and to the combination of political and religious arguments that were decisive in Truman’s decision making. 

By Allis Radosh, Ronald Radosh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Safe Haven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[This] revelatory account of Truman's vital contributions to Israel's founding. . .is told. . . with an elegance informed by thorough research."
—Wall Street Journal

"Even knowing how the story ends, A Safe Haven had me sitting on the edge of my seat.”
—Cokie Roberts

A dramatic, detailed account of the events leading up to the creation of a Jewish homeland and the true story behind President Harry S. Truman’s controversial decision to recognize of the State of Israel in 1948, drawn from Truman’s long-lost diary entries and other previously unused archival materials.


Book cover of The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951: Arab Nationalism, the United States and Postwar Imperialism

Jeffrey Herf Author Of Israel's Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949

From my list on history of establishment of the State of Israel.

Who am I?

I am a historian at the University of Maryland, College Park. In the past forty years, I have published six books and many articles on twentieth-century German history including Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich; Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys; Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World; and Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989. My personal interest in German history began at home. My father was one of those very fortunate German Jews who found refuge in the United States before Hitler closed the borders and launched the Holocaust. 

Jeffrey's book list on history of establishment of the State of Israel

Jeffrey Herf Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Louis’s excellent, and now classic work, should play a far larger role in discussions of the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism than has been the case in recent years. Drawing on a deep grasp of British foreign policy and domestic politics, Louis examines what he calls the “grand strategy of non-intervention and conciliation” that leaned heavily towards the existing Arab regimes. Prime Minister Clement Attlee, and especially Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, and other leading officials in the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office, believed that a Jewish state in Palestine would antagonize the Arabs and lead to a decline in British influence in the Middle East. Louis draws attention to Richard Crossman and other British critics of the policy of preserving Britain’s imperial role in Palestine. It is one of those indispensable works of scholarship regarding these events.

By Wm. Roger Louis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The British Empire in the Middle East, 1945-1951 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, which examines British disengagement in the Middle East during the Labour Government of 1945-51, is in a large sense a comment on the British response to Arab, Jewish, and Iranian nationalism.


Book cover of Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990

Russell C. Crandall Author Of "Our Hemisphere"? The United States in Latin America, from 1776 to the Twenty-First Century

From my list on U.S. involvement in Latin America.

Who am I?

I've been interested in U.S.-Latin American relations ever since my junior year in college when I studied abroad in Chile, a country that had only two years prior been run by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Often referred to as America’s “backyard,” Latin America has often been on the receiving end of U.S. machinations and expansions. In terms of the history of American foreign policy, it's never a dull moment in U.S. involvement in its own hemisphere. I have now had the privilege to work inside the executive branch of the U.S. government on Latin America policy, stints which have forced me to reconsider some of what I had assumed about U.S. abilities and outcomes. 

Russell's book list on U.S. involvement in Latin America

Russell C. Crandall Why did Russell love this book?

Penned by a conservative scholar who held a high-level Latin America foreign policy position in the Reagan administration, I don’t always agree with Kagan’s logic or evidence. But he is a fantastic writer and gives readers a riveting, albeit controversial, first-person account of the Reagan team’s adversarial relationship and interventions in Marxist revolutionary Nicaragua. 

By Robert Kagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twilight Struggle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A detailed history and analysis of the Nicaraguan Revolution and the American response to it


Book cover of The Problem of Democracy: America, the Middle East, and the Rise and Fall of an Idea

Sean Yom Author Of From Resilience to Revolution: How Foreign Interventions Destabilize the Middle East

From my list on democracy and dictatorship in the Middle East.

Who am I?

I have always been interested in the politics of democracy and dictatorship. Governing is a funny business: the masses must entrust a very few to lead them, and often with vast power. Where does that trust come from? And why do some rulers act so viciously while others serve with grace? Understanding these very human concerns is a worthy pursuit of knowledge.

Sean's book list on democracy and dictatorship in the Middle East

Sean Yom Why did Sean love this book?

In the twenty-first century, the US began promoting democracy in the Middle East, either by war (as in Iraq) or through peaceful diplomacy, as in everywhere else. The problem, as this book divulges, is that transplanting American political and cultural values into the Arab world was bound to create unacceptable outcomes. Among them was the rise of Islamist movements, whose ideas seemed repugnant to many Americans. The cunning solution to this contradiction: the US should still call for elections in the region as a political goal, but leave all talk of cultural and social freedoms aside.

By Shadi Hamid,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Problem of Democracy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shadi Hamid reimagines the ongoing debate on democracy's merits and proposes an ambitious agenda for reviving the lost art of democracy promotion in the world's most undemocratic regions.

What happens when democracy produces "bad" outcomes? Is democracy good because of its outcomes or despite them? This "democratic dilemma" is one of the most persistent, vexing problems for America abroad, particularly in the Middle East-we want democracy in theory but not necessarily in practice.

When Islamist parties rise to power through free elections, the United States has too often been ambivalent or opposed, preferring instead pliable dictators. With this legacy of…


Book cover of America's Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity

Andrew Payne Author Of War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War

From my list on the politics of war.

Who am I?

I take great pride in having somehow turned a passion for visiting presidential libraries into an academic career. I’ve now conducted extensive research at eight of them, and have future projects lined up to get me to the rest. This experience means I can and frequently do ruin family gatherings by challenging distant relations to quizzes about obscure details involving presidential pets. But it has also left me well-placed to write a number of articles and books exploring how domestic politics shapes the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. I’ve done this while affiliated with the University of Oxford and, more recently, at City, University of London. 

Andrew's book list on the politics of war

Andrew Payne Why did Andrew love this book?

This was the book that got me hooked on the study of U.S. foreign policy.

I vividly remember debating the grammatical merits of the word “intermestic” with my undergraduate adviser. (Full disclosure: he was a skeptic; I was in favour.) But we both agreed that the term it introduced to describe the connection between the international and domestic dimensions of policy was fundamentally apt.

This remains my go-to book to get up to speed on the domestic politics of any major foreign policy challenge of the Cold War period. And it should be yours, too.

By Campbell Craig, Fredrik Logevall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked America's Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A creative, carefully researched, and incisive analysis of U.S. strategy during the long struggle against the Soviet Union."
-Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy

"Craig and Logevall remind us that American foreign policy is decided as much by domestic pressures as external threats. America's Cold War is history at its provocative best."
-Mark Atwood Lawrence, author of The Vietnam War

The Cold War dominated world affairs during the half century following World War II. America prevailed, but only after fifty years of grim international struggle, costly wars in Korea and Vietnam, trillions of dollars in military spending, and decades of nuclear…


Book cover of Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam

Wendell Affield Author Of Muddy Jungle Rivers: A river assault boat cox'n's memory journey of his war in Vietnam

From my list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss.

Who am I?

As I write this, I massage aching bits of shrapnel still embedded beneath silvered scars. I’ve read many Vietnam War stories—praising the war, glorifying combat, condemning the war. My stories are 1st person limited POV, voice of a twenty-year-old sailor. My title is a spin-off of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. By the time I wrote my memoir, I realized that our national goals in Vietnam had been Muddy from the beginning. I too, traveled Jungle Rivers. During my time on the riverboat, I witnessed Rivers of blood—rivers of life, trickle across our deck. And yes, Jungle is a fitting metaphor for our life at that time.

Wendell's book list on the Vietnam war that explore waste and loss

Wendell Affield Why did Wendell love this book?

McMaster’s book confirms the corruption, lies, and hubris of national leaders, including the military during the Vietnam era. As a high-ranking officer in the army, I found his in-depth analysis of deception at the top levels very troubling. This is a must-read for every person interested in our history—especially to understand the mistakes of the Vietnam War—the quagmire that pulled us in. 

By H R McMaster,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dereliction of Duty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C." -H. R. McMaster (from the Conclusion) Dereliction Of Duty is a stunning analysis of how and why the United States became involved in an all-out and disastrous war in Southeast Asia. Fully and convincingly researched, based on transcripts and personal accounts of crucial meetings, confrontations and decisions, it is the only book that fully re-creates what happened and why. McMaster pinpoints the policies and decisions that got…


Book cover of Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink

Ronald Bruce St John Author Of Historical Dictionary of Libya

From my list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire.

Who am I?

I first visited and worked in Libya in 1977. At the time, only a handful of books on Libya were available in English, and all of them were technical studies related to the petroleum industry. In an effort to better understand the political economy of this beautiful and intriguing state, I began to conduct my own field research. This research led to the publication in 1981 of two articles on Libya under the pseudonym of our two sons because it was dangerous for anyone to publish critical analysis of the Qaddafi regime. I remain fascinated with Libya, and over time, I have published five books and well over 100 articles and reviews on Libya.

Ronald's book list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire

Ronald Bruce St John Why did Ronald love this book?

In September 2012, radical Islamist terrorists attacked the US Diplomatic Mission and the CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador J. Christopher (Chris) Stevens and three other Americans.

Ethan Chorin, who has 17 years of experience in Libya, wisely begins his narrative of the attacks with an exploration of their antecedents in a wide-ranging discussion of political Islam in Qaddafi’s Libya.

He then recounts events on the day of the attack from a privileged viewpoint as he was both in Benghazi and in contact with Ambassador Stevens on that day.

Next, he discusses the multiple investigations and hearings post-Benghazi in which the Republican opposition sought political advantage, turning an uncertain and often unclear response by the Obama administration into a biting, prolonged critique that stretched over the next four years.

Ethan Chorin is a master storyteller who skillfully weaves anecdotes and personal experiences into a narrative that is likely to…

By Ethan Chorin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Benghazi! A New History of the Fiasco that Pushed America and its World to the Brink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten years after an attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, cries of "Benghazi!" still echo across America. But instead of a landmark event to be taken seriously, it has become a punchline, an empty word, or a code for controversy and political theatre. In this thrilling retelling, Ethan Chorin reveals Benghazi as?a watershed moment in American history, one that helped create the world America lives in today: polarized, fearful, and dangerously unstable.

Here, Benghazi is not a story contained in 13 hours, but a decades-long history beginning with the rise…


Book cover of The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East

Randall Fowler Author Of More Than a Doctrine: The Eisenhower Era in the Middle East

From my list on American (mis)adventures in the Middle East.

Who am I?

I'm a Communication professor at Fresno Pacific University and former Fulbright grantee to Jordan. Growing up in west Texas I was always fascinated with other countries. I encountered Arabic in college, and I quickly fell in love with a language and society that reminded me so much of my home—in fact, the word “haboob” is used by Texas farmers and Bedouin herders alike to describe a violent dust storm. While I was teaching English in Amman, I realized how much I enjoy learning how different cultures come to understand one another. My driving passion is to explore the centuries-long rhetorical history tying Americans and Middle Easterners together in mutual webs of (mis)representation, and this topic has never been more relevant than today.

Randall's book list on American (mis)adventures in the Middle East

Randall Fowler Why did Randall love this book?

A highly readable tome, Cooper’s account of how the oil politics of the 1970s revolutionized U.S. foreign policy and the Persian Gulf is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the political landscape of the Middle East. Cooper traces the personal interactions among the Shah of Iran, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, and the House of Saud in the midst of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the consequent oil embargo, the formation of OPEC, and the early stirrings of revolution in Iran. Perhaps most helpful, this book dispels many misperceptions about Iran under the Shah while also showing how the United States played an integral role in weakening his regime prior to the 1979 revolution.

By Andrew Scott Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oil Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Relying on a rich cache of previously classified notes, transcripts, cables, policy briefs, and memoranda, Andrew Cooper explains how oil drove, even corrupted, American foreign policy during a time when Cold War imperatives still applied,”* and tells why in the 1970s the U.S. switched its Middle East allegiance from the Shah of Iran to the Saudi royal family.

While America struggles with a recess ion, oil prices soar, revolution rocks the Middle East, European nations risk defaulting on their loans, and the world teeters on the brink of a possible global financial crisis. This is not a description of the…


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