Because of his role in the partition of Palestine, King Abdullah has always been one of the most controversial figures in modern Middle Eastern history. This book is the first in-depth description and analysis of the historical and personal circumstances that made him so significant. Abdullah, a son of the Sharif of Mecca and a member of the Ottoman elite, emerged after the First World War as a contender for power in a Middle East dominated by Britain owing to his alliance with Britain in the Arab revolt. To his disappointment, he ended up in the arid territory of Transjordan. Within the constraints of British interests, he was left to make something of his lot. Since Transjordan had little to draw on to resist total dominance by Britain, Abdullah spent the remainder of his life looking for a role, a clientele, or a stable balance of interests that would allow him a future independent of British fortunes. He found all three after 1948 when, in conjunction with the creation of Israel, he came to rule the portion of Palestine known as the West Bank.