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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | NOVEMBER 2021 EDITION
BookMark - Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside the Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East
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Published October 2021



A presentation of latest Christian books to hit the stores


Title: Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside the Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East


Author: Joel C. Rosenberg

Genre: Fiction/ Christian - Suspense / Romance - Suspense

Publishing Date: September 2021

Availability in London: Creation Bookstore.

A Creation Bookstore Top 20? YES

Available in: Paperback

Reviews: Goodreads

SUMMARY

Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where's it all heading?

New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, based in Jerusalem, skillfully and clearly explains the sometimes-encouraging, sometimes-violent, yet rapidly shifting landscape in Israel and the Arab/Muslim world. Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change.

Includes exclusive, never-before-published quotes, insights, and analysis from the author's conversations with some of the most complex and controversial leaders in the world:
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)
  • Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
  • Jordan's King Abdullah II
  • United Arab Emirates' Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ)
  • Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Israeli president Reuven Rivlin

Reader Reviews:

Gary Barnes rated “Enemies and Allies” a 1 out of 5 STARS
Awful inane Christianity-infused self-indulgent drivel. I was pretty close to smashing up my Kindle with frustration after just two chapters.
Please join me in praying that this author henceforth sticks to fiction.
Never mind, sometimes you just get an utter dud. Let's hope this was my only one for this year.

Josh Olds rated “Enemies and Allies” a 4 out of 5 STARS
For twenty years, Joel Rosenberg has had his finger on the pulse of the Middle East. His fiction career began with The Last Jihad where the opening scene depicts terrorists hijacking an airplane—published nine months before 9/11. The Third Target had its mid-2015 release date pushed up by a few months because the book’s mostly obscure antagonists—a group calling themselves ISIS—had suddenly burst onto the scene in reality. His fiction has been so prescient that it’s opened doors into some real-life halls of power. Enemies and Allies is the story of those conversations.

To give one example of what I mean, it was Rosenberg’s fiction that led to a friendship with the King of Jordan. A consultant to the king picked up one of Rosenberg’s books in an airport, not knowing that a fictionalized version of his boss was heavily featured (or that the Jordanian palace would be bombed). He gave a copy to the king and things moved into place from there. Next thing you know, Rosenberg is a leading a delegation of evangelical Christians for a series of meetings with the king and his senior staff.

Perhaps the most exclusive part of Enemies and Allies is Rosenberg’s interview with Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the crown prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. MBS does not typically speak to Western media and no Western biographies of him actually contain interviews with him. Rosenberg spends three chapters on his experiences in Saudi Arabia and conversations with MBS.

Other figures that Rosenberg interviews include Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, king of the United Arab Emirates Mohammad bin Zayed, Jordanian King Abdullah II, American President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These interviews range from the casual and friendly to the formal and limited.

One criticism that I do have is that many of the interviews lack substance or critical analysis. Rosenberg is usually content to report what was said without scrutinizing it or offering critical commentary. The most egregious and well-known instance of this is simply accepting that MBS had nothing to do with the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, and highlighting Khashoggi’s friendly past with Muslim extremists. I understand that Rosenberg likely has to be very careful about his portrayal of controversial figures, but those who are wanting hard-hitting journalism that incisively critiques and comments on the claims are going to be left wanting.

It’s not that Rosenberg and his team only offer softball questions. Some are very pointed and contentious, though always polite. But little more is done than to simply report the answers as given. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it’s important to note that the book is more memoir than political expose.

Enemies and Allies offers a look into the Middle East that many readers haven’t seen before. It has an obvious bias toward Israel and Saudi Arabia and against Palestine. Rosenberg also speaks out in support of Jordan and Egypt and against Iran, but those criticisms are more well-founded. Rosenberg’s limitations are that he only features leaders and nations he has interviewed, so key pieces—like chapters on Palestine and Iran—are conspicuously absent.

Enemies and Allies is sure to have its uncritical fans and immediate detractors. While Rosenberg does seem to push the evangelical narrative, he’s open and honest about it. I do wish that he had played a bit more hardball with some interviews, that they had a bit more substance, and that he hadn’t felt the need to hype his entire team for every interview. At the same point, I do understand the political intricacies of doing reporting like this and understand that not everything is on the record. My biggest personal takeaway was a better understanding of el-Sisi in Egypt and the Obama administration’s unfortunate connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The most important aspect of Enemies and Allies is how it humanizes many of the current leaders of the Middle East, helping readers see them as real people and not vague stereotypes or caricatures. I’m hopeful that this book will help evangelical Christian readers understand the Middle East in a deeper and more impactful way.

Linda Mayhan rated “Enemies and Allies” a 4 out of 5 STARS
Enemies and Allies by Joel Rosenberg is such a timely and interesting book. Rosenberg gives the reader insight to interviews he had and time he spent with key leaders in the Middle East as well as here in the US. Without including information of a sensitive nature from his interviews, he does give you a view of these men as leaders and citizens of the countries that they love, as well as a look at the dynamic of political power in this region of the world. As a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, he offers an interesting perspective of how the progress and setbacks in the Middle East cause actions and reactions world wide. You will enjoy the book!

Tom Burkholder rated “Enemies and Allies” a 5 out of 5 STARS
In the book Enemies and Allies, author Joel Rosenberg writes about his involvement in the recent peace agreements between Arab/Muslim countries and Israel. Rosenberg, who is a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, writes about the many volatile situations in the Middle East and how recent American Presidential administrations have helped or hurt the peace process. As a current resident of Israel, Rosenberg gives unique insights into the conflicts and while no resolution is perfect, there is a great deal of behind the scenes progress. This was an incredible book with many private meetings now being made public. I would highly recommend this book

Mark Easter rated “Enemies and Allies” a 3 out of 5 STARS
Enemies and Allies is an interesting and fairly detailed glimpse into the back channel dealing between players in the Middle East from the standpoint of one of those players, the author, Joel Rosenberg. Those who follow his blog postings, media appearances, and articles in major news organizations will be familiar with much of the material, but the book pulls it all together and fills in gaps with added personal insights and color. Students of Middle East policy and those who are interested in "peace of Jerusalem" will find it interesting and informative if a bit necessarily long.

Leslie McKee rated “Enemies and Allies” a 3 out of 5 STARS
Rosenberg's books are always so well written and spot-on. This is the first nonfiction book I've read from him, but it's interesting. He gives the reader a look at what's going on in the Middle East. He interviews heads of state, as well. The author has dual citizenship (US and Israel), so it's interesting to see his perspective on things.

Philip Young rated “Enemies and Allies” a 5 out of 5 STARS
Wow! Not a fiction but reads like Joel’s fictions - eye opening and exciting

This book is not only a life changer but a game changer as well. Thank you Joel and thank you to all the people who have walked the talk along side you.

Kelly Hodgkins rated “Enemies and Allies” a 3 out of 5 STARS
I was dubious of the unbiased nature of this book when I read it a few months back. Shortly after finishing it, I read another book on the region and it felt a more balanced one. I was reflecting on how to review this book when the latest war between Israel and Palestine broke out. The horror, the pain and the revelations made as a result of that fighting dropped the book even further in my estimation,

It is well written, eloquently argued and easy to be swayed by and perhaps that's what raised the flag for me. America is painted as being a uniting force, several stories in the book seem to raise the status of the author and his fellows by name dropping rather than deeds. The prediction of harmony and the recommended solution to the struggle feel entirely out of touch with the reality into which the book will soon be birthed.

For me, it's a two out of five on the enJOYment scale, with a warning, please read broader on this than just this book. Wrestle with the complexity of the challenges facing this region and form your own opinion.






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