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This book examines the careers of 53 area experts in the US State Department’s Middle East bureau during the Cold War. Known as Arabists or Middle East hands, they were very different in background, education, and policy outlook from their predecessors, the Orientalists. A highly competitive selection process and rigorous training shaped them into a small corps of diplomatic professionals with top-notch linguistic and political reporting skills. Case studies shed light on Washington’s perceptions of Israel and the Arab world, as well as how American leaders came to regard (and often disregard) the advice of their own expert advisors. This study focuses on their transformative role in Middle East diplomacy from the Eisenhower through the Ford administrations.