Book review – Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East

51YKMVejZNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Churchill and the Islamic World
Orientalism,Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East
by Warren Dockter
published by I B Tauris
ISBN 9781780768182
Price £25.00 hardback

 

Winston Churchill began his career as a junior officer and war correspondent in the North West borderlands of British India, and this experience was the beginning of his long relationship with the Islamic world.Overturning the widely-accepted consensus that Churchill was indifferent to, and even contemptuous of, matters concerning the Middle East, this book unravels Churchill’s nuanced understanding of the edges of the British Empire. Warren Dockter analyses the future Prime Minister’s experiences of the East, including his work as Colonial Under-Secretary in the early 1900s, his relations with the Ottomans and conduct during the Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-16, his arguments with David Lloyd- George over Turkey, and his pragmatic support of Syria and Saudi Arabia during World War II.Challenging the popular depiction of Churchill as an ignorant imperialist when it came to the Middle East, Dockter suggests that his policy making was often more informed and relatively progressive when compared to the Orientalist prejudices of many of his contemporaries.

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