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Publisher's Summary

What can the United States do to help realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Stephen Kinzer offers a surprising answer in this paradigm-shifting book.

Two countries in the region, he argues, are America's logical partners in the 21st century: Turkey and Iran. Besides proposing this new "power triangle", Kinzer recommends that the United States reshape relations with its two traditional Middle East allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This book provides a penetrating, timely critique of America's approach to the world's most volatile region and offers a startling alternative. Kinzer is a master storyteller with an eye for grand characters and illuminating historical detail. In this book he introduces us to larger-than-life figures, such as a Nebraska schoolteacher who became a martyr to democracy in Iran; a Turkish radical who transformed his country and Islam forever; and a colorful parade of princes, politicians, women of the world, spies, oppressors, liberators, and dreamers.

Kinzer's provocative new view of the Middle East is the rare book that will richly entertain while moving a vital policy debate beyond the stale alternatives of the last 50 years.

©2010 Stephen Kinzer (P)2010 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“An original, unsettling critique... [and] an imaginative solution to the Middle-East stalemate.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall

Essential World History

This book gave me a clear understanding about our relationship with Iran and Turkey. The authors policy recommendations make a lot of sense.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sonny
  • chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-03-10

Very informative

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was great. Described in detail the modern history of Turkey, Iran, and the US's involvement in the region. The writer did a great job putting all the information together. I really liked the reader's voice, sounded very powerful. Recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Middle East and also how problems in the Middle East including the Israeli and Palestinian conflict might be solved.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • R.S.
  • Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  • 06-14-10

challenges stereotypes

In Reset Stephen Kinzer challenges stereotypes that need re-evaluation if another destructive war is to be avoided. For people whom the history of Iran and Turkey is a blur, this is a useful corrective. The narrative is clear. I sometimes did have to stop to orient myself to be sure if it is Iran or Turkey that is being described. There is a period of parallel developments in secularization where the story moves from one nation to the other to make the comparisons more vivid. The ear does not comprehend this as easily as the eye would.

Nevertheless, this is well written and well read. His chapters on Israel and Saudi Arabia were enlightening and unexpected. The account of Israel's operations as a proxy for the US in Central America was a shocker.

Despite Kinzer's recognition of the dark corners of history, he sees in the United States a great potential to realize itself as an agent for peace in the world. But to to bring about peace in the middle east, it must divest itself of the anachronistic assumptions of the cold war.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 02-01-12

Middle East paradigm shift

Reset offered a new way for me to look at the Middle East. The book makes an argument that partnering with Turkey and Iran makes the most sense for helping to achieve a peaceful solution to the challenges in that area. Stephen Kinzer suggests that we also revisit and reshape our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Israel. The premise of all of this is based on the history of Turkey and Iran and the connections and progressive nature of their peoples to the notions of popular uprisings, gender-equality and the lust for a democratic form of government.

The biggest part of the book is an historical rendition. While I thoroughly enjoyed that I do not know how correct or unbiased it might have been. It does not really matter. Peace in that part of the world is obviously of paramount importance. Actually, peace in every part of the world is of paramount importance and whatever crazy and speculative scheme that might pull that off works for me.

The book was well-written and engaging. It pretty well sums up how things got to be the way they are in the Middle East. Whether leaders of the world are bold enough to attempt a radical paradigm shift to bring about peace is... well something we can all at least hope for. What we’ve done for the last half century certainly isn’t working.

I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of that part of the world or maybe just for anyone interested in the world in general.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jake
  • Mora, MN, United States
  • 09-03-10

a great book for anyone caring about Turkey or Ira

What an insightful book. It was a very good historical overview of Turkey, Iran, the US in the Middle East and it's relationship w/ Isreal and Saudi Arabia.

Fascinating listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marilyn
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-07-13

Extremely well written. The US blew it.

Would you consider the audio edition of Reset to be better than the print version?

I don't have time to read, most unfortunately.

Who was your favorite character and why?

After listening to Kinzer's book, I am confident I can hold my own when it comes to explaining what went wrong with Iran and how it could have been so different. What we didn't understand about Iran really hurt us. One really awful mistake after another. This book is extremely informative and should be required reading for all of our politicians. Never an extraneous word. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Have you listened to any of Alan Sklar’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes: Sklar is an excellent choice for this book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

If we had just not interfered (CIA) in Iranian affairs we could have had a real ally in the middle east.

Any additional comments?

Makes me want to learn much more about the middle east.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Hugely important work!

What did you like best about this story?

This is a tremendously well presented argument for a truly fundamental reset in American Policy. As a retired USAF officer who spent a tour in Turkey, and worked with Iranians before the Ayatollah, I absolutely agree with recommendations. American's have so very much more in common with the Persians and the Turks -- so much more to gain, so much more moral standing to be had -- with this "Reset." I hope the senior policy thinkers, movers and shakers all read this book, and go get to know the Turks and Persians. The world will be a better place for it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The reminder that 15 or 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Arthur
  • Mountain View, US, Canada
  • 07-23-12

Very Informative, excellent policy outline

It seems too bad that knowledge and directions for policy like those in this book are not evident in our foreign policy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good one

Good one . This is a very entertaining read and a well narrated book. Kudos to Audible for having this book in their store.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Important perspective on the Middle East

Details of the long history of democratic development in Turkey and Iran. Suggesting that these nations could be important allies in the Middle East. Told in a narrative style that is at once informative and enlightening. excellent.