Revered by some as the Arab Garibaldi, maligned by others as an intriguer and opportunist, Fawzi al-Qawuqji manned the ramparts of Arab history for four decades, leading or helping to lead Arab forces in nearly every significant military conflict from 1914 to 1948. When an effort to overthrow the British rulers of Iraq failed, he moved to Germany, where he spent much of the Second World War battling his fellow exile, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had accused him of being a British spy. In 1947, Qawuqji made a daring escape from Allied-occupied Berlin, and sought once again to shape his region's history. In his most famous role, he would command the Arab Liberation Army in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. In this well-crafted, lively and definitive biography, Laila Parsons tells Qawuqji's dramatic story and sets it in the full context of his turbulent times. Following Israel's decisive victory, Qawuqji was widely faulted as a poor commander with possibly dubious motives. Parsons shows us that the truth was more complex: although he doubtless made some strategic mistakes, he never gave up fighting for Arab independence and unity, even as those ideals were undermined by powers inside and outside the Arab world. 'An outstanding book ... one of the most important new works in modern Middle Eastern history.' Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs 'With great skill and impressive scholarship, Laila Parsons uses the extraordinary career of Fawzi al-Qawuqji as a prism through which to understand the tumultuous history of the Arab world in the first half of the twentieth century.' Charles Tripp, SOAS 'An indispensable account of the career of a remarkable Arab military leader whose life involved participation in most of the Middle East's major twentieth-century battles' Roger Owen, Harvard University
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