Nicolas Pelham has written about the Middle East since 1992. He began as the editor of Middle East Times from Cairo before joining the BBC Arabic Service. He covered the Algerian civil war and the caprice of Colonel Qaddafi as the BBC’s correspondent in Rabat. In 2002 he joined the Financial Times reporting on the downfall of first Saddam Hussein and then the American protectorate in Baghdad. Since 2010, he has reported on the region’s collapse for The Economist and The New York Review of Books. He is the author of two previous books, A New Muslim Order (2008) on Arab Shiite rule, and A History of the Middle East (2010) with Peter Mansfield. He lives in London with his wife and three children.
“A sound, accessible argument for why returning to the mixed-faith communities living among each other in the Ottoman model might just save the Middle East. … Pelham traces the current crisis of violent, xenophobic sectarianism in the region to the series of forced population transfers and displacements carried out through the 20th century, most critically from the fall of the ethnically diverse Ottoman Empire to the creation of Israel and Pakistan. … However, Pelham does not see only doom but rather a resurgence of pluralism as a natural, human response given the chance for peaceable community. A lively, succinct, nonpolemical study that will offer much thought for discussion.” –starred review, Kirkus Reviews
“Nicolas Pelham, an Economist journalist, has put together a fine collection of essays – a rare combination of on-the-ground reportage and profound historical knowledge – that takes as its starting point the millet (religious sect) system of the Ottomans, who were more ethnically diverse and tolerant than their European contemporaries.” The Guardian