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Lloyd Gardner's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Lloyd Gardner recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Lloyd Gardner's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Nasser: The Last Arab

A Biography

Since the death of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970 there has been no ideology to capture the imagination of the Arab world except Islamic fundamentalism. Any sense of completely secular Arab states ended with him and what we see today happening in the Middle East is a direct result of Western opposition to Nasser's strategies and ideals.

Nasser is a fascinating figure fraught with dilemmas. With the CIA continually trying to undermine him, Nasser threw his lot in with the Soviet Union, even though he was fervently anti-Communist. Nasser wanted to build up a military...
Recommended by Lloyd Gardner, and 1 others.

Lloyd GardnerThere are a lot of books out there about Nasser. Some of the books by local authors like Mohamed Heikal are very important as semi-memoirs. Aburish, it seems to me, gives a very fair and balanced picture of Nasser’s ambitions. He wanted to be the leader of an Arab renaissance. Ironically this is what the US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles hoped in 1953, when he first visited the... (Source)

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The Far Enemy

Why Jihad Went Global

Since September 11, Al Qaeda has been portrayed as an Islamist front united in armed struggle, or jihad, against the Christian West. However, as the historian and commentator Fawaz A. Gerges argues, the reality is rather different and more complex. In fact, Al Qaeda represents a minority within the jihadist movement, and its strategies have been vehemently criticized and opposed by religious nationalists among the jihadis, who prefer to concentrate on changing the Muslim world rather than taking the fight global. It is this rift that led to the events of September 11 and that has dominated... more
Recommended by Lloyd Gardner, and 1 others.

Lloyd GardnerThis book by Gerges is important because I don’t think many people really understand that much of this turmoil began in ferment against the local governments and that it was the persistence of American military support for governments in power that led Al-Qaeda to turn against America. And of course one of the key people in this was Osama bin Laden, who, according to what Gerges and others say,... (Source)

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Geoffrey Wawro approaches America's role in the Middle East in a fundamentally new way-by encompassing the last century of the entire region, rather than focusing narrowly on a particular country or era. The result is a definitive and revelatory history whose drama, tragedy, and rich irony he relates with unprecedented verve. Wawro combed archives in the United States and Europe and traveled the Middle East to unearth new insights into the hidden motivations, backroom dealing, and outright espionage that shaped some of the most tumultuous events of the last one hundred years. Wawro offers... more
Recommended by Lloyd Gardner, and 1 others.

Lloyd GardnerYes, and it is a much newer book. The more I read about it the more I knew I would have to look at this book. He comes at it from the tradition of a European political historian and therefore his book is filled with comparisons between American policy now and previous policies by the Europeans. He also, very effectively I think, discusses the problems with America’s policies towards Israel in a... (Source)

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With the events of September 2001, America's relationship with the Middle East exploded to the forefront of our national consciousness. Looking back more than a half-century, Douglas Little offers valuable, historical context for anyone seeking a better understanding of this complicated relationship. He explores the encounters between the United States and the Middle East since 1945, focusing particularly on the complex, sometimes inconsistent attitudes and interests that have shaped U.S. relations in the region. Little begins by exposing the persistence of "orientalist" stereotypes in... more
Recommended by Lloyd Gardner, and 1 others.

Lloyd GardnerWe should say it right out: Americans, including academics, are behind in terms of the Middle East. And that is because when Americans studied the rest of the world before all the trouble began in the Middle East, basically we studied Europe. We studied Asia and Latin America as a deep second to Europe, but the Middle East was almost completely ignored. The only interest that the United States... (Source)

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A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two...

Bryan CallenI love [this author]. (Source)

Mary HabeckThis is a fantastic account of the origins of al Qaeda, the individuals who laid the foundations of the organisation and why they carried out 9/11. (Source)

Peter TaylorIf anybody wishes to understand what Al-Qaeda is, where it came from and what it is trying to do, I think that this is the key book to read. (Source)

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