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In 1914 the Middle East was still dominated, as it had been for some four centuries, by the Ottoman Empire; by 1923, its political shape had changed beyond recognition as the result of the insistent claims of Arab and Turkish nationalism and of Zionism. This book examines that historic transformation, taking as its focus the work of three leaders. The Hashemite Emir Feisal hoped to head an Arab kingdom in Syria but was thwarted by the French. The Turkish war hero Mustafa Kemal defied the imperial ambitions of the European powers, inspiring a new Turkish nationalism and founding a secular republic on the ruins of a defeated empire. The Russian-born scientist Chaim Weizmann seized the chance to secure the Balfour Declaration in favour of Zionism from the British in 1917, and then successfully argued for a British mandate for Palestine which would carry this out.
TG Fraser is Professor Emeritus at Ulster University. Andrew Mango (1926-2014) was the author of the definitive biography of Ataturk (2002). Robert McNamara is currently a Senior Lecturer in International History at Ulster University.