The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace
Aaron David Miller, . . Bantam, $26 (407pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80490-4
In this extraordinary account of 20 years on the front lines of Arab-Israeli peacemaking, career diplomat Miller provides an impressively candid appraisal of Middle East peace efforts. Drawing from his extensive experience and 160 interviews with presidents, advisers and negotiators, he apportions censure and praise with an even hand, sparing not even his failures or those of his colleagues. Miller evinces genuine compassion for both sides in the conflict (stressing that Americans cannot fully understand the life-and-death stakes in the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians), while maintaining a detachment that allows him to draw hard conclusions. Miller says that though the two sides hold ultimate responsibility for their shared fate, American involvement is imperative and calls for the tough-love approach of Kissinger and Carter, arguing compellingly that such engagement is “now more vital to our national interests, and to our security, than at any time since the late 1940s.” Although occasionally paternalistic, Miller's writing is both approachable and deeply smart; this and his absolute failure to take sides mean that this work will doubtlessly influence and enrage—and certainly inspire.
Reviewed on: 02/25/2008