The Twilight War -- The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran by David Crist, Penguin '12, $36, 638 pages, ASIN #1594203415. Index, notes, no bibliography, two groupings of b&w glossy images.
Little did Americans think after the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in the late 1970s upon the overthrow of the Shah of Iran that this would usher in more than three decades of what historian David Crist calls "The Twilight War" between Iran and the United States, continuing to the present day. Crist calls this conflict a secret war -- one "that has never been acknowledged and a story that has never been told."
"Fights rage in the shadows between the CIA and its network of spies and Iran's intelligence agency." the author writes. "Battles are fought at sea with Iranians in small speedboats attacking Western oil tankers. This conflict has frustrated five American presidents, divided administrations, and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare."
Among Crist's revelations are "the series of negotiations between Iran and the United States after 9/11, culminating in Iran's proposal for a grand bargain for peace -- which the Bush Administration turned down," the clandestine counterratack Iran launched after America's 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the background to Iran's quest for nuclear technology..."
David Crist is a historian for the federal government and frequent adviser to senior government and military officials on the Middle East. He has a doctorate in Middle Eastern history from Florida State University.
Meetinghouses of Early New England by Peter Benes, UMass. Press '12, 446 pages, ASIN #1558499105. Index, works cited, notes, seven appendices, b&w images sprinkled through text.
To say historian Peter Benes's new book (with nearly 100 pages of appendices alone) is exhaustively researched is an understatement. From the dust cover:
"Built primarily for public religious exercises, New England's wood-frame meetinghouses nevertheless were closely wedded to the social and cultural fabric of the neighborhood and fulfilled multiple secular purposes for much of the 17th and 18th centuries. As the only municipal building in the community, these structures provided locations for town and parish meetings. They also hosted criminal trials, public punishments and executions, and political and religious protests, and on occasion they served as defensive forts, barracks, hospitals, and places to store gunpowder.
"Today few of these once ubiquitous buildings survive. Based on site visits and meticulous documentary research, Meetinghouses of Early New England identifies more than 1,200 houses of worship in the region during the period from 1622 to 1830, bringing many of them to light for the first time."
Peter Benes is director of the Dublin Seminar for the New England Folklife in affiliation with Historic Deerfield, Inc., in Deerfield, MA.
Cronies -- How Texas Business Became American Policy -- And Brought Bush to Power by Robert Bryce, PublicAffairs '04 paperback. 327 pages, ASIN #B000VYSV38. Index, bibliography, notes, appendix, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the back cover:
"In this enlightening, scrupulously reasearched book, Robert Bryce shows how Texas politics have become America's politics and Texas business has become America's business. Cronies traces the family tree from its roots in the giant East Texas oilfield, and follows it through the rise of Sam Rayburn and LBJ to the rise of George W. Bush and Tom DeLay. Along the way, Bryce uncovers the fascinating and complex web of crony connections through which Texas has converted its vast energy resources into fierce political clout. He also shows how Texas oil politics have steered U.S. policy from World War II to Vietnam and from Vietnam to the Second Iraq War.
"Cronies offers vital insight into the forces that brought both George Bushes to power and why those forces are here to stay. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the American oil business, the politics of energy, American foreign policy, or the Middle East. Karl Rove believes Texas is 'America's Superstate.' This book explains why he's right."
Robert Bryce was raised in Tulsa, OK, a town briefly known as the Oil Capital of the World. His work has appeared in numerous leading magazines and newspapers, both in America and abroad.