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Our Man in the Middle East

First-hand accounts from the front line
Narrated by: Jeremy Bowen
Length: 5 hrs and 42 mins
Categories: History
4.8 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Summary

BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen presents a personal history of the Middle East.

Over these 25 programmes, Jeremy reflects on the present and the past of the Middle East, after reporting from the region for more than a quarter of a century. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with an in-depth look into the region's history. He has witnessed endless wars between individuals, religious groups and full-sized states, jostling for military, political and economic power. He has interviewed dictators, fanatics and fundamentalists as well as the ordinary people caught up in their dangerous games. In that time, the past has always been present, providing motivation and political ammunition. Bowen has made headlines himself and he has paid a personal price, coming under fire and losing a colleague in the course of reporting - on the worst day, he says, in his life.

  1. The Giant Awakens: On America's dramatic intervention in the region during the massive military build-up to the first Gulf War
  2. All Flesh Is Glass: Bowen recalls the devastation of the first Gulf War, as he witnessed the aftermath of the bombing of a shelter in Baghdad
  3. Retreat to the Mountains: The story of the Kurds of Iraq
  4. Jerusalem: On the allure and challenge of the Holy City
  5. Recipe for Disaster: How the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin changed the region's history
  6. Crossing the Divide: How a gas container explains the divide between the Israelis and the Palestinians
  7. Death on the Nile: On the trail of Osama bin Laden
  8. The Final Frontier: Looking back to December 1998, when the West sent bombers into Baghdad
  9. A Blunt Instrument: Bowen recalls his tricky dealings with the Iraqi Ministry of Information
  10. The Nearness of Death: Bowen describes the worst day of his working life - the day he and his colleagues came under fire from the Israeli Defence Force
  11. A Strike to the Heart: The dark days following 9/11
  12. The Drums of War: The fallout from the invasion of Iraq in 2003
  13. The Unravelling: On what went wrong, as Iraq descended into chaos in the months after the US invasion in 2003
  14. Guns and Olive Branches: The life of Yasser Arafat
  15. Missiles and the Ballot Box: Exploring Gaza
  16. A Taste of Fire and Smoke: The impact of religious divisions across the Middle East
  17. A Flash of Nail Varnish: On Iran's strategic position in the Middle East and its attitudes to the West
  18. The Revolving Revolution: The popular revolution in Egypt during the Arab Spring
  19. Unfollow the Leader: The overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya
  20. Crossing the Line: The dramatic eruption of opposition to the Assad regime in Syria
  21. A Mini World War: On the many different layers of war in Syria
  22. Oil and Water: The conflict in Yemen and the role of Saudi Arabia
  23. The New Sultan: Turkey's dramatic changes under the leadership of President Erdogan
  24. Cruelty Without Borders: On the rise and fall of the Islamic State group
  25. Through a Glass Darkly: Bowen looks at some of the lessons of the past 25 years - what happens next in the Middle East?

Produced by Mark Savage and Cara Swift.

©2018 Jeremy Bowen (P)2018 BBC Digital Audio

What listeners say about Our Man in the Middle East

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  • Overall
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Brilliant Podcast. Shocking Formatting

I don't understand how Audible can publish this podcast in completely the wrong order. It makes for such frustrating listening and rejigging of the story. Truly unprofessional! Incredible podcast by Jeremy Bowen

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Amazing book, but all chapters scrambled

All the chapters are scrambled out of order, but an amazing account and puts it all in perspective and into a timeline

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An excellent listen but not an easy one.

A fascinating view on the last 25 years in the Middle East but quite an arduous listen. The horrors faced by the people of this region are multitude.

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Recent Middle East for dummies

This was a really fascinating insight into an area I know very little about as a westerner, delivered by someone familiar from the BBC in a manner that doesn't require a certain level of expertise. Possibly likely to arouse the ire of right wingers I suspect as it isn't ardently anti-Palestine and pro-war, but I thought it was pretty balanced. Any formatting issues mentioned in earlier reviews seem to have been ironed out as this was the same version I heard years ago on Radio 4. If you're interested at all in this troubled and important region, give this a listen.

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stunning clarity on middle east

this is top BBC journalism clear, compelling and gripping as well as giving historical context to the middle east. other listeners have commented that Audible have scrambled the chapters but they are all in the right order for me no priblems. strongly recommended.

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Excellent

I just loved (although that might not be the appropriate word) everything about this book, excellent.

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Incorrect chapter sequence on app

The app does not play the chapters in order and are also labelled incorrect which causes a lot of frustration and confusion. Audible needs to resolve ASAP. Content of story if very well explained and recommended for non-bias information. Recommended once Audible fix the chapter sequence issue.

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Highly recommend

Very informative, i’d highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the recent history of the middle east. it does a very good job of showing how the conflicts in different parts of the region are all connected and the harm caused by western intervention.

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Stunning

The juxtaposition of contemporary audio clips, authentic regional music and Jeremy Bowen's narrative combine to tell the epic story of recent events in the Middle East. Should be compulsory listening for all school children. Beguiling, mesmerising and shocking all at the same time.