This is both a very intriguing and a very informative book. Joel Migdal, of the University of Washington, asserts that there were three transformative periods in the Middle East that affected US policy—even if US policymakers did not quite understand the nature of the transformations, or the state–society relations in the countries of the region they had to deal with. The three periods Migdal describes are (1) 1948–1952, bookended by the first Arab–Israeli War (1948–1949) and the ouster of Egypt's King Farouk by the Free Officers in 1952 that brought Gamal ʿAbd al-Nasser to power; (2) 1979, with the Iranian Revolution that demonstrated that a revived Islam could serve as the basis for rule in a modern Middle Eastern state; and (3) 2009–2011, with the Green Revolution in Iran, which brought 2 million Iranians to the streets to protest the 2009 elections, and the Arab Spring of 2010–2011.

Migdal's analysis...

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