King Hussein of Jordan by Nigel Ashton
A Political Life

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A towering figure in the history of Jordan, King Hussein reigned for nearly half a century, from his grandfather’s assassination in 1953 to his own death in 1999. In this fascinating biography, Nigel Ashton recounts the eventful life of the king who not only survived but flourished amidst crisis after crisis as ruler of a poor desert nation surrounded by powerful and hostile neighbors. Hussein skillfully navigated complicated relationships with the British, his fellow Arab leaders, the new bordering state of Israel, masses of dispossessed Palestinians within his kingdom, every U.S. president from Eisenhower to Clinton, and every British prime minister from Churchill to Blair. This book illuminates the private man, his key relationships, and his achievements and disappointments as a central player in the tough world of Middle Eastern politics.

Ashton has had unique access to King Hussein’s private papers, including his secret correspondence with U.S., British, and Israeli leaders, and he has also conducted numerous interviews with members of Hussein’s circle and immediate family. The resulting book brings new depth to our understanding of the popular and canny king while also providing new information about the wars of 1967 and 1973, President Reagan’s role in the Iran-Contra affair, the evolution of the Middle East peace process, and much more.


About Nigel Ashton

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Nigel Ashton is senior lecturer, Department of International History, London School of Economics and Political Science, and author of "Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War,"
Published September 16, 2008 by Yale University Press. 464 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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King Hussein faced considerable opposition from his Hashemite cousins in Saudi Arabia (it did not help matters, in that regard, that the ruling Arab families of the region are related), some of whom argued that “the Jordanian branch of the Hashemite family was not fit to rule, and that the kingdo...

Sep 01 2008 | Read Full Review of King Hussein of Jordan: A Pol...

The New York Times

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King Hussein of Jordan (1935-99)was the great survivor of Middle East politics.

Oct 03 2008 | Read Full Review of King Hussein of Jordan: A Pol...

Publishers Weekly

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In this respectful and measured scholarly evaluation, Ashton (Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War ) builds on unprecedented access to the late king's entire correspondence and more than two dozen interviews to lend valuable insight into how Hussein's shrewdness and empathy kept him politically (a...

Jul 14 2008 | Read Full Review of King Hussein of Jordan: A Pol...

Project MUSE

While the notion that Husayn had dynastic aspirations for greater regional power, as Malik Mufti has argued, helps explain the assertiveness of many policy moves, referring to this notion as an “ideology” begs the question of whether this ideology had followers and how it compares to the riva...

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