Ike's Gamble

America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East

Ike's Gamble

“Deeply researched, tightly argued, and accessibly concise” (The New York Times Book Review)—a major retelling of the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956, a seminal event in the history of US relations with the Middle East, and why President Eisenhower sided with Egypt rather than Britain, France, and Israel, and how he came to regret that decision.

In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt moved to take possession of the Suez Canal, thereby bringing the Middle East to the brink of war. The British and the French, who operated the canal, joined with Israel in a plan to retake it by force. Despite the special relationship between England and America, Dwight Eisenhower intervened to stop the invasion.

In Ike’s Gamble, “a disturbing history that clearly reveals the dangerous ‘collective American delusion’ about the Middle East” (Kirkus Reviews), Michael Doran shows how Nasser manipulated the US, invoking America’s opposition to European colonialism to drive a wedge between Eisenhower and two British Prime Ministers, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. Meanwhile, Nasser was making weapons deals with the USSR and destabilizing other Arab countries that the US had been courting. The Suez Crisis was his crowning triumph. In time, Eisenhower would conclude that Nasser had duped him, that the Arab countries were too fractious to anchor America’s interests in the Middle East, and that the US should turn instead to Israel.

“This is a story that has been told many times, but seldom with the depth and stylistic elegance of Ike’s Gamble. Michael Doran does not just challenge the prevailing historiography, he turns it on its head” (The Weekly Standard). Affording deep insight into Eisenhower and his foreign policy, this fascinating and provocative history provides a rich new understanding of how the US became the power broker in the Middle East.
  • Free Press | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451697841 | 
  • October 2017
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About the Author

Michael Doran
Photograph by Adam Lowe

Michael Doran

Michael Doran has served as a Middle East advisor in the White House and as a deputy assistant secretary of defense. An alumnus of Stanford and Princeton Universities, he has held several academic positions and is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he specializes in Middle East security issues. He lives in Washington, DC.

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