A telling history of one of the most important relationships in the Middle East
This is the first book to tell the remarkable story of the relationship between Jordan and the United States and how their leaders have navigated the dangerous waters of the most volatile region in the world.
Jordan has been an important ally of the United States for more than seventy years, thanks largely to two members of the Hashemite family: King Hussein, who came to power at the age of 17 in 1952 and governed for nearly a half-century, and his son, King Abdullah, who inherited the throne in 1999. Both survived numerous assassination attempts, wars, and plots by their many enemies in the region. Both ruled with a firm hand but without engaging in the dictatorial extremes so common to the region.
American presidents from Eisenhower to Biden have worked closely with the two Hashemite kings to maintain peace and stability in the region—when possible. The relationship often has been rocky, punctuated by numerous crises, but in the end, it has endured and thrived.
Long-time Middle East expert Bruce Riedel tells the story of the U.S.-Jordanian relationship with his characteristic insight, flair, and eye for telling details. For anyone interested in the region, understanding this story will provide new insights into the Arab-Israeli conflict, the multiple Persian Gulf wars, and the endless quest to bring long-term peace and stability to the region.
Praise for Jordan and America
“A thoughtful, vivid, and elegantly written account of relations between the United States and Jordan over the last seven decades, from one of the finest Middle East specialists and public servants of his generation. Bruce Riedel makes history come alive, drawing on his own experiences to illuminate a crucial partnership, and the personalities who animate it.”
—William J. Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; former president, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
“Bruce Riedel had me riveted from page one in this fantastic telling of the modern history of Jordan and of the post–World War II Middle East through the prism of the Hashemites. It’s all there: the stories of two amazing kings, five exotic wives and other key players, the development of a country that remains one of the region’s main hopes—plus Israeli-Palestinian wars and Iraq wars and the Iranian revolution and the rise of al Qaida. All of this Riedel describes with his amazing firsthand experiences and personal relationships, and with his characteristic brilliance. I have devoured every one of his outstanding books and this is the best of all. If it does not wind up a Netflix series, someone in Hollywood is asleep at the wheel.”
—Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow, the Brookings Institution
“Bruce Riedel’s Jordan and America offers a unique view into U.S.-Jordan relations across time. He offers anecdotes from his rich experience in the Middle East that help elucidate the evolution of this bilateral partnership and the key role the Hashemite leadership played and continues to play in strengthening this relationship and in maintaining Jordan’s relevance in the face of myriad obstacles in the region. A must-read for Washington’s foreign policymakers as the Middle East continues to be vital for U.S. national security.”
—Merissa Khurma, program director, Middle East Program, Wilson Center
“This book tells a captivating story about the enduring relationship between Jordan and the United States with implicit lessons that can be applied to contemporary challenges. Riedel’s narration is seamless, vivid, and detailed in its depiction of pivotal meetings and events in that relationship. Above all, his book makes a compelling case for why the Hashemite Kingdom, while not as turbulent or adventurous as some neighboring states, remains central to hopes for a regional peace.”
—Mahsa Rouhi, research fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University