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The Great War & the Middle East by Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson has set himself a task of heroic proportions by producing an overview of the fall of the Ottoman empire in the Great War. Others have skimmed the surface and omitted the Armenian and Azerbaijani theatres. The Ottoman Eastern front has been thinly covered by English speaking writers. The reader may well be familiar with writers such as Eugene Rogan and TE Lawrence but Johnson brings original material from Kew, Ankara ,Bonn ,and Washington to the story of the crumbling empire
With a 286 page canvass Johnson has produced a book of first class stature.

The work is set out in chronological order and covers the period 1907-1923 so as to set the scene for hostilities, to view the war and then observe the tangled process of the Cairo conference, There is much debunking of assumed events, for example the Sykes Picot understanding was about spheres of influence not boundaries. There has been much written about the decisions of the Great Powers, Johnston identifies the interaction of local factions and states as well. The epilogue observes on the death of a number of decision makers prior to peace , also briefly looks at some of the political fall out.

The book is probably aimed at the serious reader, with comprehensive endnotes , bibliography and a good index for further reading and cross referencing It is a book
that needs time to read in detail but is well worth study. Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War programme at Oxford and is a former Devonshire & Dorset officer .He has numerous publications ,including The Afghan Way of War (2011) and was a consultant for NATO Study: Urban Warfighting: Strategy and Operations, 2015.He also speaks at RUSI.

As with all good Oxford University Press books the printing standard is excellent with clear illustrations (although not on photo paper) and 7 good clear maps.
The book is priced at £25.00 cover price with some offers around £16 on Amazon ,14.98 Kindle edition.

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