Barry Rubin, Author, Judith Colp Rubin, Author . Oxford Univ. $29.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-19-516773-3

It's as old as the country itself, argue Barry Rubin, editor of Middle East Review of International Affairs , and journalist Colp Rubin, whose last joint book project for Oxford was Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography . Their nine-chapter chronological tour of the U.S. as hated republic can sometimes feel like little more than a compendium of quotations with filler descriptions—and IDs like "the kindly British novelist Charles Dickens, least snobbish of his nation and defender of the downtrodden in his great novels." But the figures they choose as hostile observers of America and Americans, and the things those observers say, make for a multifaceted national portrait. To take just one example, 19th-century British historian Thomas Carlyle asks a correspondent, "Could you banish yourself from all that is interesting to your mind, forget history, the glorious institutions, the novel principles of old Scotland that you might eat a better dinner, perhaps?" The book starts to feel especially speedy as it tries to represent the 20th and 21st centuries: Islamist Sayyid Qutb; the Eisenhower-era U.S. Information Agency director, George Allen; The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ; Baader-Meinhof; Foucault; "a left-wing British journalist"; and Arthur Koestler all make cameos. Long on sound bites and short on in-depth analysis, this book provides entertaining glimpses of a nation that may have invented public relations to combat its own image problem. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/16/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-0-19-530649-1
Open Ebook - 324 pages - 978-1-4237-2081-2
Open Ebook - 324 pages - 978-0-19-803747-7
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