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J. Robert Oppenheimer, an iconic figure of the twentieth century, was a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. This magisterial work won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for biography.
Analysis of the Financial decisions of the United States in the mid-1900's.
Biographies of two brothers during their careers as statesmen in the late twentieth century.
Crossing Mandelbaum Gate is a vivid memoir of an American boy growing up in the midst of the Arab-Israeli conflict, three major wars and three decades of political upheavals in the Middle East. Set in Jerusalem (1956-1958), Beirut (1970), Saudi Arabia (1962-1965), Amman and Cairo (1965-1967), Bird's book explains through a blend of memoir and history why the Western experience in the Middle East has been so turbulent. Through Bird's Zelig-like presence, the reader experiences the Suez War of 1956, the June 1967 War and the Black September hijackings of 1970 that led to the Jordanian Civil War. Bird's memoir shows how all of these momentous events led to the rise and tragic downfall of a secular Arab nationalist ethos -- only to be replaced by the rise of a fundamentalist, politically reactionary Islamist movement. The narrative history tells the stories of such illuminating figures as life-long Jerusalem resident George Antonius, author of The Arab Awakening, and his charismatic wife; Jordan's King Hussein and his CIA connections; the businessman Salem bin Laden, Osama's older brother and a family friend; Saudi kings Faisal and Khalidl; President Nasser of Egypt; and Leila Khaled, the striking young Palestinian radical who hijacked one of the Black September planes. The son of a U. S. Foreign Service officer, Kai Bird spent his formative years with the Arabs, but he ended up marrying the only daughter of two Holocaust survivors. This Shoah survival story becomes a part of Bird's own personal narrative, and provides him with a deeper understanding of the historical relationship between the destruction of European Jewry and the Arab-Israeli conflict. This extraordinary memoir by a Pulitzer-prize-winning historian sheds new light on all the wars of the Middle East fought in the name of identity.
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER KAI BIRD'S fascinating memoir of his early years spent in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon provides an original and illuminating perspective into the Arab-Israeli conflict. Weeks before the Suez War of 1956, four-year-old Kai Bird, son of a garrulous, charming American Foreign Service officer, moved to Jerusalem with his family. They settled in a small house, where young Kai could hear church bells and the Muslim call to prayer and watch as donkeys and camels competed with cars for space on the narrow streets. Each day on his way to school, Kai was driven through Mandelbaum Gate, where armed soldiers guarded the line separating Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem from Arab-controlled East. He had a front-seat view to both sides of a divided city---and the roots of the widening conflict between Arabs and Israelis. Bird would spend much of his life crossing such lines---as a child in Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and later, as a young man in Lebanon. Crossing Mandelbaum Gateis his compelling personal history of growing up an American in the midst of three major wars and three turbulent decades in the Middle East. The Zelig-like Bird brings readers into such conflicts as the Suez War, the Six Day War of 1967, and the Black September hijackings in 1970 that triggered the Jordanian civil war. Bird vividly portrays such emblematic figures as the erudite George Antonius, author ofThe Arab Awakening;Jordan's King Hussein; the Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled; Salem bin Laden, Osama's older brother and a family friend; Saudi King Faisal; President Nasser of Egypt; and Hillel Kook, the forgotten rescuer of more than 100,000 Jews during World War II. Bird, his parents sympathetic to Palestinian self-determination and his wife the daughter of two Holocaust survivors, has written a masterful and highly accessible book---at once a vivid chronicle of a life spent between cultures as well as a consummate history of a region in turmoil. It is an indispensable addition to the literature on the modern Middle East.
The Good Spy is Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird's compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history - a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West. On April 18, 1983, a bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people. The attack was a geopolitical turning point. It marked the beginning of Hezbollah as a political force, but even more important, it eliminated America's most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East - CIA operative Robert Ames. What set Ames apart from his peers was his extraordinary ability to form deep, meaningful connections with key Arab intelligence figures. Some operatives relied on threats and subterfuge, but Ames worked by building friendships and emphasizing shared values - never more notably than with Yasir Arafat's charismatic intelligence chief and heir apparent Ali Hassan Salameh (aka "The Red Prince"). Ames' deepening relationship with Salameh held the potential for a lasting peace. Within a few years, though, both men were killed by assassins, and America's relations with the Arab world began heading down a path that culminated in 9/11, the War on Terror, and the current fog of mistrust. Bird, who as a child lived in the Beirut Embassy and knew Ames as a neighbor when he was twelve years old, spent years researching The Good Spy. Not only does the book draw on hours of interviews with Ames' widow, and quotes from hundreds of Ames' private letters, it's woven from interviews with scores of current and former American, Israeli, and Palestinian intelligence officers as well as other players in the Middle East "Great Game." What emerges is a masterpiece-level narrative of the making of a CIA officer, a uniquely insightful history of twentieth-century conflict in the Middle East, and an absorbing hour-by-hour account of the Beirut Embassy bombing. Even more impressive, Bird draws on his reporter's skills to deliver a full dossier on the bombers and expose the shocking truth of where the attack's mastermind resides today.
Examines the controversy around the use of the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan.
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