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Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance

Warren Bass

Publication Date - December 2004

ISBN: 9780195177503

360 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $35.00

A fascinating reappraisal of Kennedy's role in the Middle East


At the Cold War's height, John F. Kennedy set precedents that continue to shape America's encounter with the Middle East. Kennedy was the first president to make a major arms sale to Israel, the only president to push hard to deny Israel the atomic bomb, and the last president to reach out to the greatest champion of Arab nationalism, Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser. Now Warren Bass takes readers inside the corridors of power to show how Kennedy's New Frontiersmen grappled with the Middle East. He explains why the fiery Nasser spurned Washington's overtures and stumbled into a Middle Eastern Vietnam. He shows how Israel persuaded the Kennedy administration to start arming the Jewish state. And he grippingly describes JFK's showdown with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over Israel's secret nuclear reactor. From the Oval Office to secret diplomatic missions to Cairo and Tel Aviv, Bass offers stunning new insights into the pivotal presidency that helped create the U.S.-Israel alliance and the modern Middle East.

About the Author(s)

Warren Bass serves on the professional staff of the 9/11 Commission. A former senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, and The Jerusalem Report. He lives in Washington, D.C.


"Riveting.... A major contribution to the diplomatic history of a little understood period in American Middle East diplomacy."--The New York Times

"Stimulating and informative.... Based on deep research, well-weighed and analyzed...an important addition to our knowledge of a fraught subject."--Washington Post Book World

"A generous introduction to the issues and events in lively prose, judiciously leavened with wryly humorous anecdotes.... An engaging book, thoroughly researched and lucidly argued, on a seminal moment in the making of one of America's most consequential alliances."--San Francisco Chronicle

"In his groundbreaking and engaging book, Warren Bass introduces us to a Kennedy whom few people in America and in the Middle East ever knew or even imagined existed." --Michael Oren, The New Republic

"Exceedingly well-told.... A superb book...fascinating and useful for understanding some of today's realities."--Dennis Ross, Ha'aretz

"Important and timely."--The Nation

"Surely the definitive account of John F. Kennedy's Israel policy."--The Washington Monthly

"A first-rate book.... Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of America's current ties to Israel and dilemmas in trying to resolve the tensions that plague the Middle East. General readers as well as specialists will enjoy and profit from this important study."--Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

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