Monday, July 7, 2014

Recommendation: King's Counsel

A friend recently gave me a copy of "King's Counsel" by Jack O'Connell and I found it an exciting, educational read. It terms itself "a memoir of war, espionage, and diplomacy in the Middle East," but I found it to be a story of a maturing friendship.

It begins by outlining the roots of modern-day Jordan. Only a few decades ago, the kingdom came into existence and since it was a fragile enterprise, it is amazing that it survived as an independent state.

Jack O'Connell became a legal counsel to King Hussein when the king and the country were young. It provides an admiring depiction of the King who became widely known as a peace-maker and as one who sees "what is possible," rather than holding onto past grievances. Oftentimes, the King's good nature and generosity were taken as weakness and other allies took advantage of him, but the story in the long-run shows the admirable vision he had for Arab unity and a new way of life for the Middle East.

It is a story of what might have been. Mistakes were made by many countries throughout the past sixty years. Peace could have been achieved years ago if someone had just reached out for the outstretched arm of peace and conciliation. We would be living in a different world today where extremism never would have reared its head in the way it is doing now.

Jordan's history is remarkable. It has grown from a small desert community to one of the most important places of stability and progress in the Middle East. It had a fragile existence for many years and it is now showing others that it made many correct decisions in its development.

Jack O'Connell speaks warmly of Jordan and I find myself having the same amount of feelings. Though we cannot look back on what might have been, we can only look forward with hope for peace and promise for progress in a world that seeks the values that Jordan offers. It is a great read and you will find yourself with a well-rounded history lesson of Jordan and the Middle East crisis.

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