The conflicts and crises of today's Middle East are rooted in the colonial era. To better understand them, we need to acknowledge how Western imperialism negatively shaped the region and its destiny in the half-century between World War I and the happenings of the Cold War. That is the challenging argument of The Poisoned Well, which provides a vivid account of the struggle against European colonial rule in ten states stretching from North Africa to south Arabia. Drawing on a rich cast of eye-witnesses - ranging from nationalists and colonial administrators to soldiers, spies, and courtesans - The Poisoned Well brings to life the story of the making of the Middle East, highlighting the great dramas of decolonization such as the end of the Palestine mandate, the Suez crisis, the Algerian war of independence, and the retreat from Aden. It argues that imperialism sowed the seeds of future conflict - and poisoned relations between the Middle East and the West. Bolstered by firsthand accounts and interviews, readers will find a wise and humanistic account of the struggle for independence in the Middle East. Written by a former BBC journalist, it is a far-ranging, landmark work that will serve as the definitive history of Western imperialism in the Middle East for years to come.