The received wisdom is that future Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab leaders led popular uprisings against colonial rule that forced the overextended British from the region. Drawing on newly declassified archives, James Barr argues instead that the U.S. was the driving force behind Britain's exit. Despite being allies, they found themselves at odds over the Middle East, from who owned Saudi Arabia's oil to who should control the Suez Canal. Encouraging and exploiting widespread opposition to the British, the US intrigued its way to power, ultimately becoming as resented as the British had been. As Barr shows here, it is impossible to understand the region today without first grappling with this little-known power struggle.
"Beautifully written and deeply researched.... [This book] goes far beyond classic diplomatic history ... superbly illustrating the constraints of Britain's decline and America's inexorable rise."—Guardian