Decorated British foreign correspondent Robert Fisk has been based in the Middle East for the last twenty-five years, reporting from the world’s worst trouble-spots. This is his first-person account of fifty years of bloodshed and tragedy in the area, from the Palestinian-Israeli carnage to the recent war against Iraq.
The Great War for Civilisation’ is written with passion and anger, a reporter’s eyewitness account of the Middle East’s history. All the most dangerous men of the past quarter century in the region – from Osama bin Laden to Ayatollah Khomeini, from Saddam to Ariel Sharon – come alive in these pages. Fisk has met most of them, and even spent the night out at a guerrilla camp with Bin Laden himself.
In a narrative of blood and mass killing, Fisk tells the story of the growing hatred of the West by millions of Muslims, the West’s cynical support for the Middle East’s most ruthless dictators and America’s ever more powerful military presence in the world’s most dangerous lands as well as its uncritical, unconditional support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. It is also a story of journalists at war, of the rage, humour and frustration of the correspondents who spend their lives reporting the first draft of history, their weaknesses and cowardice, their courage and truth-telling. After reading ‘The Great War for Civilisation’ the reader grasps just why those 19 suicide pilots changed the world on September 11th.
Assessing the situation right up to the present day and reporting from the heart of a bombed-out Baghdad, Fisk examines the factors leading up to the coalition forces entering Iraq, and discusses possible outcomes of long-term involvement there.
Reviews of The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
- ‘Brilliant…this powerfully-written book is filled with accounts of horror, pain and injustice. His triumph is that he has turned a slightly dubious and over-romanticised craft into a honorable vocation.’ Independent
- ‘His forte is straight reporting, such as his three interviews with Osama bin Laden. At least as good are his meetings with Saddam Hussein, Khomeini and Sadeq Khalkhali, the hanging judge of the Iranian revolution, and his close-ups of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the launch of Saddam’s war against Iran, an ambush by Islamists of an Algerian police patrol, and a lift into trouble in an Apache attack helicopter on the Iraq/Turkey border.’ Guardian
- ‘A stimulating and absorbing book, by a man who speaks Arabic, who has known the region better than most, and has met the leading players, from Bin Laden to Ahmad Chalabi. A formidable production.’ New York Times
- ‘Full of furious, vivid and highly personalised writing…An important book by an intrepid and talented writer.’ Literary Review