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Kingmakers: Invention of the Modern Middle East

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Date and time
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kingmakers is the story of how the modern Middle East came to be, told through the lives of the Britons and Americans who shaped it. Some are famous (Lawrence of Arabia and Gertrude Bell); others infamous (Harry St. John Philby, father of Kim); some forgotten (Sir Mark Sykes, Israel's godfather, and A. T. Wilson, the territorial creator of Iraq); some controversial (the CIA's Miles Copeland and the Pentagon's Paul Wolfowitz). All helped enthrone rulers in a region whose very name is an Anglo-American invention. Co-authors Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac elaborate on these ideas and take questions on their book. This event was a presentation of the Patron Network of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21, in cooperation with The New York Society Library.

Karl E. Meyer is an author, foreign correspondent and a longtime editorial writer for the New York Times and Washington Post. He is currently editor emeritus of the quarterly World Policy Journal. Kingmaker’s is his eleventh book (list follows). Born in Madison, Wisconsin, he is a graduate (history) of the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where he edited both the Daily Cardinal and the Athenaean literary magazine. He holds a Master of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University as well as a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton. From 1956-1971, he was first a reporter, then a member of the Editorial Board of the Washington Post; in 1965-70, he was the Post’s London Bureau Chief and 1970-71 he headed its New York Bureau. He joined the New York Times Editorial Board in 1979 where he served until 1998 as the senior writer on foreign affairs and a contributor to the Arts and Ideas section. After his retirement from the Times, Meyer became Editor of the World Policy Journal, published quarterly at the New School University, a position he held until 2008. He has also been a Washington correspondent of The New Statesman of London (1962-65); television columnist and contributing editor of The Saturday Review (1975-79), and a contributing editor of Archaeology (1999-2005). He has been a visiting professor at Yale University, Tuft University’s Fletcher School, Bard College, and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton. He has been a Reuter Fellow at Oxford University, a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin), and is a fellow of Davenport College, Yale. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Association. Resident of New York City and Weston, Ct.
Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Brysac attended the Juilliard School and graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in Archaeology/Art History. While in college and subsequently she was a soloist with the dance companies of José Limon, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and the New York City Opera companies. After her retirement as a dancer, she worked as a photography editor and director of audio visual for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and Random House publishers.