Synopses & Reviews
It was the middle of World War I. Two men one, a visionary British politician (Mark Sykes), the other, a veteran French diplomat (Francois Georges-Picot) secretly agreed to divide the Middle East. Britain would have mandates in newly created Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq; France in Lebanon and Syria. For the next thirty years, this divide would make uneasy neighbors of two great powers and irreparably shape the Middle East. James Barr combs recently declassified French and British government archives and unearths a shocking secret war and its powerful effect on the local Arabs and Jews. He follows politicians, diplomats, and spies through intrigue and espionage to show us T. E. Lawrence s stealth guerrilla terror campaigns, and he journeys behind closed doors to discover why Britain courted the Zionist movement. Meticulously well researched and character-driven, A Line in the Sand crescendos with the violent birth of Israel, all along the way brimming with insight into a historically volatile region.
"An outstanding, revealing, and disturbing glimpse behind the closed doors of power politics." Booklist
"Lively and entertaining. . . . [Barr] has thrown some light on hitherto unexplored corners." Financial Times
"Starred review. Barr's extensive archival research, evocative historical vignettes, and a superb sense of narrative pacing produce a first-rate work." Publishers Weekly
"Combines the narrative pace of a spy novel with meticulous archival research." Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History
"A provocative history . . . helps us to understand why the Arab spring is so important and valuable."--David Ignatius,
In the twentieth century, while fighting a common enemy in Europe, Britain and France were locked in a clandestine struggle for power in the Middle East. From the first agreement to divide the region between them to the birth of Israel, is a gripping narrative of the last gasp of imperialism, with tales of unscrupulous double-dealing, cynical manipulation, and all-too-frequent violence that continues to the present day.
About the Author
James Barr is the author of Setting the Desert on Fire. During the research for A Line in the Sand he was a Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. He lives in London.