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Books

The Ottoman empire: the last great casualty of the first world war

According to Eugene Rogan’s The Fall of the Ottomans, the collapse of the millennium-old empire triggered most of the problems that plague the Middle East today

2 May 2015

9:00 AM

2 May 2015

9:00 AM

The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914–1920 Eugene Rogan

Allen Lane, pp.485, £25

In a possibly apocryphal story, Henry Kissinger, while visiting Beijing in 1972 as Nixon’s national security adviser, asked Zhou Enlai, China’s premier on the significance of the French Revolution of 1789. ‘It’s too soon to tell,’ was Zhou’s answer.

Zhou was not simply being enigmatic. His answer had a great deal to do with the enormous consequences that flow from cataclysmic events such as revolutions and wars, which influence the course of peoples and nations in ways that cannot be easily foreordained or traced.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £20 Tel: 08430 600033. Ali A. Allawi was Iraq’s minister of finance in 2005–6, and author of The Occupation of Iraq, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization and Faisal I of Iraq.

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