‘Our Last Best Chance: A Story of War and Peace’ by King Abdullah

His Majesty King Abdullah. (Photo: Royal Court)
His Majesty King Abdullah. (Photo: Royal Court)
At a time of unprecedented upheaval in the Middle East, King Abdullah is almost unique in enjoying widespread popular support. He is the ultimate modern-day monarch, as comfortable at a business conference as he is at a meeting of the Arab League. In this prescient memoir-cum-manifesto, he makes an urgent plea to push for a solution to the Arab-Israeli crisis. He writes with disarming frankness about his own upbringing and warns of the brewing resentment in the region. A call to arms by the most dynamic young ruler in the Arab world, Our Last Best Chance helps explain the volatile underpinnings of the new Arab awakening.اضافة اعلان

This worthy addition to that distinctive genre of books written by political leaders still in office is part autobiography, part political history. King Abdullah stresses the dominant presence of his father, His Majesty the late King Hussein, throughout his life, notes the formative influence of his schooling, records his many years of soldiering, and provides an insider’s view of the Jordanian royal family (including a circumspect account of King Hussein’s deathbed decision to change the succession from Abdullah’s uncle, Hassan, to him). The narrative is enriched by numerous first-hand accounts and appraisals of other political leaders, including Americans, Israelis, Palestinians, and Iraqis. The book, which went to press before the Arab uprisings, ends with a plea to seize the “last best chance” for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

Why would a sitting head of state choose to write about the most explosive issues he faces? King Abdullah does so now because he believes we face a moment of truth: a last chance for peace in the Middle East. The prize is enormous, the cost of failure far greater than we dare imagine.

King Abdullah spent his formative years in the United States, where he went to Eaglebrook and Deerfield, and in England, where he trained to be an officer at Sandhurst. A cavalry officer in the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, he eventually became commander of the Jordanian Special Forces, a position that allowed him to forge invaluable relationships with intelligence and military offices around the world. The head of the Hashemite family, he is a 43rd-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad. His family ruled the holy city of Mecca for more than eight hundred years and his great-grandfather led the Arab revolt for independence from Ottoman rule.

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