Revue de presse
Racy... Barr describes the complexities of Anglo-French intrigues against each other and... he is right to assert that few British readers grasp the ferocity of Anglo-French antagonism in the Levant.' --Sunday Times, 24 July 2011
'superb research and telling quotations' --The Times
`Racy ... Barr describes the complexities of Anglo-French intrigues against each other and -- in 1941 -- outright war in Syria. ... he is right to assert that few British readers grasp the ferocity of Anglo-French antagonism in the Levant' --Sunday Times
`James Barr's history of imperial machinations in the Middle East offers a revelatory slant on the continuing crisis in that area... an outstanding piece of research and a damning take on what stoked current Middle Eastern woes' --Metro
`One of the unexpected responses to reading this masterful study is amazement at the efforts the British and French each put into undermining the other. The people of the region were only too happy to help fuel the rivalry: if a British administrator devised a new plan or wrote a damning description of his French counterpart, the chances are that a copy would arrive in Paris soon after London. Barr gives less attention to this aspect of the rivalry. He has also limited the story in time -- no mention, for instance, of Napoleon and Nelson fighting their way through the region in the 1790s at the beginning of the struggle. Nor, more significant, the fiasco that ensued in 1956 when the two rivals worked in unison in response to Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal. But there is enough here to have even the most jingoistic readers shaking their heads and, in the light of 60 years of conflict that has followed, wondering whether the region would now be more resolved and peaceful had the British and French never been allowed to take control' --The Spectator
`Times Reporter Who Upset The French And Was Repaid With A Bellyful Of Trouble' --The Times
`Barr lays out in detail how between the wars the two countries sought to undermine one another in the Middle East. ...[He] is particularly good at identifying and portraying officials and agents engaged in these tit-for-tat reprisals that blurred the distinction between patriotism and crime. ...Barr devotes some final engrossing chapters to the way the French tried to get their own back on Arabs and British alike by conspiring with the Zionists in the post-1945 turmoil. ...The real moral of this story seems to be that the game of nations has no rules, no winners and no point' --Literary Review
`[A Line In The Sand] researches in meticulous detail an important and definitive period in the history of the Middle East and Palestine, which aroused imperial feuding for the sake of dominion over the East, and which continues to be tangible. The author has expended considerable efforts in research and verification in tracing the threads of the feud between Britain and France... . [He] is peerless in his extensive treatment of the Zionist terrorist campaigns ... [which], at the end of the day, brought about the British debacle in Palestine and resulted in great human or material loss' --Al Quds Magazine
`Lively and entertaining. He has scoured the diplomatic archives of the two powers as well as the private papers of most of the leading officials of the time in search of the telling phrase, and has come up with a rich haul that brings his narrative to life' --Financial Times
The struggle between Britain and France for mastery of the Middle East between 1914 and the late 1940s, is analysed by James Barr in his excellent new book.
It is a complex story of intrigue and skulduggery, which Barr pieces together in a deft, well-written narrative. A journalist by profession, he manages to bring the whole subject alive through a series of well-chosen details and characters --History Today
Présentation de l'éditeur
Through a stellar cast of politicians, diplomats, spies and soldiers, including T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, A Line in the Sand vividly tells the story of the short but crucial era when Britain and France ruled the Middle East. It explains exactly how the old antagonism between these two powers inflamed the more familiar modern rivalry between the Arabs and the Jews, and ultimately led to war between the British and French in 1941 and between the Arabs and Jews in 1948.
In 1946, after many years of intrigue and espionage, Britain succeeded in ousting France from Lebanon and Syria, and hoped that, having done so, it would be able to cling on to Palestine. Using newly declassified papers from the British and French archives, James Barr brings this clandestine struggle back to life, and reveals, for the first time, the stunning way in which the French finally got their revenge.