The nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956 triggered one of the gravest international crises since the Second World War. The fiftieth anniversary of the Suez crisis in 2006 presented an ideal opportunity to re-visit and reassess this seminal episode in post-war history. Although much has been written on Suez, this study provides fresh perspectives by reflecting the latest research from leading international authorities on the crisis and its aftermath. By drawing on recently released documents, by including previously neglected aspects of Suez, and by reassessing its more familiar ones, the volume makes a key contribution to furthering research on - and understanding of - the crisis. The volume explores the origins of the crisis, the crisis itself and the aftermath all from a broad perspective. An introduction by the editor presents the current state of the historiography and provides an overview of the debates surrounding the crisis, while the conclusion by Scott Lucas not merely draws the themes of the book together, but also explores the crisis in its regional and international context. Within the overall context of focussing on the international and military aspects of the crisis, it is an explicit intention to embody in the contributions the multifaceted nature of Suez. Although Britain, as in many ways the principal actor, is strongly represented, there are also highly original chapters on both the regional and international dimensions to the crisis, and crucially the interaction between the two. As well as exploring the role of the main protagonists, essays also deal with American, Jordanian and Turkish reactions to the invasion. The overall result is an innovative, thought-provoking, and wide-ranging reassessment of Suez and its aftermath, which at a time when the Middle East once again holds the world's attention, is particularly appropriate.
Simon C. Smith is Professor of History at the University of Hull, UK