Faith Misplaced by Ussama Makdisi
The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations: 1820-2001

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In this riveting account of U.S.-Arab relations, award-winning author Ussama Makdisi explores why Arabs once had a favorable view of America and why they no longer do. Firmly rejecting the spurious notion of a civilizational clash between Islam and the West, Makdisi instead demonstrates how an initial zealous American missionary crusade was transformed across the nineteenth-century into a leading American educational presence in the Arab world, and how the advent of the idea of Wilsonian self-determination, amidst wide-scale Arab emigration to the United States, further bolstered a positive, foundational Arab idea of America. However, a series of subsequent political turning points—beginning with the British and French colonial partition of the Arab world in 1920 and culminating in the U.S.-backed creation of Israel in 1948 at the expense of the Palestinians—systematically alienated Arabs from America.

Drawing on both American and Arab sources, Makdisi brings to the fore for the first time a wide range of hitherto marginalized Arab perspectives on their multifaceted cultural and political encounters with America. Unearthing this neglected history puts current politics and Arab attitudes toward the United States in a crucial historical perspective. By tracing how American missionaries laid the basis for an initial Arab discovery of America, and then how later U.S. policy decisions fueled anti-Americanism, Makdisi tells a powerful historical tale brimming with contemporary relevance.
 

About Ussama Makdisi

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Ussama Makdisi is Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies and professor of history at Rice University. In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar for his contributions to enriching the country's discourse on Islam. His previous book, Artillery of Heaven, won the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize.
 
Published June 4, 2010 by PublicAffairs. 434 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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American humanitarian efforts for Greek independence and Armenian refugees of Turkish genocide rendered the United States as a promised land, and Arab emigration to America increased, giving rise to a rich tradition of exile, or mahjar, literature.

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Christian Science Monitor

Evangelical missionaries were once leaders in creating a positive image of the US in the Arab world.

Jul 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Faith Misplaced: The Broken P...

Huffington Post

"That the Shia Hassan Nasrallah was able to sustain his popularity in the predominantly Sunni Arab world at a moment of extraordinary sectarian violence in Iraq is remarkable," according to Makdisi, who adds a footnote to see Amal Saad Ghorayeb, "What the Moderate Arab World Is," Al-Ahram Weekly,...

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Faith Misplaced: The Broken P...

Huntington News

Makdisi doesn't indulge in the blatant anti-Semitism of Lebanese-American newswoman Helen Thomas, who recently suggested that the Jews of Israel -- "occupied Palestine" in her view -- leave and go to Germany, Poland and the U.S., but Makdisi writes approvingly of anti-Semites like William Eddy, t...

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Faith Misplaced: The Broken P...

Bookmarks Magazine

However, a series of subsequent political turning points—beginning with the British and French colonial partition of the Arab world in 1920 and culminating in the U.S.-backed creation of Israel in 1948 at the expense of the Palestinians—systematically alienated Arabs from America.

Drawing...

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Faith Misplaced: The Broken P...

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