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1. A History of Iraq
2. Understanding Iraq: The Whole
3. Inventing Iraq: The Failure of
4. What Was Asked of Us: An Oral
5. Iraq: A Political History from
6. From Mesopotamia to Iraq: A Concise
7. Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade
8. Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin
9. A Short History of Iraq 2nd edition
10. The Secret History of the Iraq
11. A People's History of Iraq: The
12. The Surge: A Military History
13. The Modern History of Iraq
14. Hammer from Above: Marine Air
15. LIFE: The War in Iraq
16. The Iraq War: A Military History
17. Memories of State: Politics, History,
18. Conflicts in Iraq And Afghanistan
19. The Iraq War Reader: History,
20. Wheels On Fire: My Year of Driving

1. A History of Iraq
by Charles Tripp
Paperback: 386 Pages (2007-09-18)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 052170247X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
To understand Iraq, Charles Tripp's history is the book to read. Since its first appearance in 2000, it has become a classic in the field of Middle East studies, read and admired by students, soldiers, policymakers and journalists. The book is now updated to include the recent American invasion, the fall and capture of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent descent into civil strife. What is clear is that much that has happened since 2003 was foreshadowed in the account found in this book. Tripp's thesis is that the history of Iraq throughout the twentieth-century has made it what it is today, but also provides alternative futures. Unless this is properly understood, many of the themes explored in this book - patron-client relations, organized violence, sectarian, ethnic and tribal difference -will continue to exert a hold over the future of Iraq as they did over its past. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of the 2nd Edition
Content Summary:This is a good political history of Iraq from the time that the Ottoman Empire lost control of it, through (and beyond) the period of Britain's waning influence and oil interests.The book summarizes the numerous and rotating governments Iraq experienced, and ends with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, just before George Bush Jr.'s invasion.The "Second Gulf War" of Bush is not included in the second edition.

Analytical Review: This text would probably be ideal for students of politics, history, and religion (in that order).Less is said about religion than politics.Clearly the author has made painstaking efforts to identify all the regimes (and sub-regimes), including the many rotating prime ministers that ultimately led to Saddam Hussein's long, dictatorial rule.The preconditions that paved the way there are illumined fairly well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Helped me in my studies.
I was born in Iraq and I am very well related to the history of Iraq. I do some researches about the country and had missed few bits of information which I happily found in the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent general history
"A History of Iraq" is an excellent, readable narrative covering Iraq's modern period from its creation out of the Ottoman Empire through today.

The first chapter provides background on the Ottoman provinces that make up today's Iraq and then it goes on to cover six more modern historical periods: The British Mandate; The Hashemite Monarchy, 1932-41; The Hashemite Monarchy, 1941-58; The Republic, 1958-68; The Ba'th and the Rule of Saddam Husain, 1968-2003; and The American Occupation and the Parliamentary Republic.

Compared to other books on Iraq published today, Tripp merely provides a historical narrative without political histrionics or polemics.Yet, still, in the end you feel you have a better understanding of the "why" of Saddam Husain, and "why" Iraq is where it is today with the potential of parliamentary democracy.Throughout these historical periods, there's one constant regardless of the leadership and type government; that is the power of patronage and its use by the nation's leaders to get and maintain control of power.

Yet, it's not as simple as it would seem given the Shi'a vs. Sunni vs. Arab vs. Persian vs. Kurd dynamic.It makes for a much more complicated environment than exists in other Islamic countries where one religious group or ethnicity tends to dominate...if anything, you're struck by the need for Iraq's leadership to compromise with all major groups -- and if it doesn't, the other groups can, will, and have created violent political instability throughout Iraq's modern history. Generalizations about Iraq cannot be made without significant qualifiers and caveats.

A definite must read for anyone who wants to understand Iraq while avoiding the tremendous political bias that tends to dominate most books on Iraq today.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book
This book neutrally presents a recent history of Iraq in details. As a novice of the Middle East, I tremendously enjoyed this book and found it fascinating (although I was overwhelmed with the many different names in the book from time to time and it took me more than three months to finish).

For the last few centuries, Iraq has not evolved much and is still stuck in the past. It is a country built on patronage networks. Those who have been in power constantly persecute and eliminate those opposition who are deemed threatening.

It is in stark contrast with Western democratic societies where the freedom of speech is treasured and opposing voices will not be silenced.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
THis book gives the real history for Iraq and it makes the normal people understand the modern hostory of Iraq ... Read more

2. Understanding Iraq: The Whole Sweep of Iraqi History, from Genghis Khan's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation
by William R. Polk
Paperback: 240 Pages (2006-03-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060764694
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Dramatic History of Iraq in One Concise Volume

The destinies of Iraq and America will be tightly intertwined into the foreseeable future due to the U.S. incursion into this complex, perplexing desert nation -- the latest in a long history of violent outside interventions. A country sitting atop the world's largest supply of crude oil, Iraq will continue to play an essential role in global economics and in Middle Eastern politics for many decades to come. Therefore, it is more important than ever for Westerners to have a clear understanding of the volatile, enigmatic "Land of Two Rivers" -- its turbulent past and its looming possibilities. In this acutely penetrating and endlessly fascinating study, acknowledged Middle East authority William R. Polk presents a comprehensive history of the tumultuous events that shaped modern Iraq, while offering well-reasoned judgments on what we can expect there in the years to come.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

4-0 out of 5 stars Clear and loud
From the begining of our time a long time ago to the present, in brief chapters, the author lecture the reader clearly about Iraq. The author didn't hesitate in give his valuable point of view on how and why things are as they are there.

3-0 out of 5 stars A bit too general, but not horrible
The relatively small size of this book is a good indication of how I felt about it in the end.What does it mean to "understand" Iraq?To the author, it pretty much means a historical summation without much context or value added.

I "understand" that giving a brief history of Iraq would be prudent for figuring out Iraq from a modern context, but this book is a bit too general and "Cliff Notes-esque" for me.All of the history of Iraq in 200 small pages inevitably leaves out large chucks, which is to be expected.After all, I'm not looking for a 50-page narrative about the Abbasids.But in the Iraq of the 20th century, the author jumps from the Revolutions of 1958 and 1963 to the Saddam takeover of the Ba'th Party in 10 pages.That is 30 years of recent history that is extremely key to understanding the Iraq of today...almost ignored.It left me, the reader, having to look up whole decades of events in the 20th century on the Internet for information.That is obviously something that should never happen.

But then again, this book's weakness of length is also its strong point.For someone looking for a brief summation of Iraq that could be read over the weekend, this is the book.But at the end of the day, the introduction into the history of Iraq that is gained by reading this book would be better read on Wikipedia at your own pace -- there would be better organized information.

I wouldn't particularly recommend this book, even to beginners.That is because the scholarly research that should be in this book is rarely evident.The author mentioned many MANY times how often he's been to Iraq and "I was there is 1980 and then back again in 1984"....and then what?His on-the-ground knowledge is rarely put into the book.Such an insider's access to the pre- and post-Ba'th Iraq (that the author professes to have) should be more evident throughout the prose in telling me how his experiences help me "understand" Iraq.His failure to have even one or two interesting vignettes that would add character to an otherwise bland history book is a let down.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Tall Order
It would be a rare scholar who could bring together all the threads of history of this ancient and fascinating country into one slim volume, and Mr Polk makes a fair attempt at it.His credentials as an academic and policy maker who lived in Baghdad in the 1950s are impeccable, and the book starts particularly well with an explanation of the significance of language, and a canter through prehistory to medieval times.His account of the introduction of Islam, whilst short, is succinct and seems accurate.I was less impressed with his critical account of the doings of first Britain and of the late the United States which, although perhaps factually correct, conveys a one-sided view of the light in which modern Iraqis regard those who have been involved in their history in the last century.In summary, this is an excellent introduction to Iraq, if rather coloured by the author's political opinions.One final criticism: a bibliography would allow the reader to access some of Mr Polk's considerable learning.I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a comprehensive overview.

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding Iraq: The Whole Sweep of Iraqi history
The author is highly experienced and well informed. The historical perspective is extensive but the book is written in a very readable style. A tremendous help in understanding the conflict and the issues of that part of the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good primer
This book was recommended to me in preparation for a tour in Iraq.It's an excellent overview of the history of this troubled nation, with due emphasis on the religious and tribal aspects.The latter portion which addresses US intervention makes clear the author's disapproval of US policy and actions. ... Read more

3. Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied
by Toby Dodge
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-10-30)
list price: US$26.50 -- used & new: US$21.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0231131674
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Offering a penetrating history of the formation of modern Iraq, Dodge uncovers numerous troubling parallels between the policies of a declining British empire and those of the current American government, which together form a timely and trenchant cautionary tale.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Parallels Between 1920 and 2003??
Toby Dodge, a British political scientist who has studied Iraq extensively, has produced this book in order to educate others about one role that an occupying power has taken, 1920's Iraq via London, or 2003 Iraq via Washington.

In 1920, The British officials in charge f Iraq imported many British ideas on Iraq.For example, the was a colonialist disregard for urban iraqis opposed to urban dwellers.This had larDodge Review

Toby Dodge, a British political scientist who has studied Iraq extensively, has produced this book in order to educate others about one role that an occupying power has taken 1920 Iraq via London, or 2003 Iraq via Washington.

In 1920, The British officials in charge f Iraq imported many British ideas on Iraq.For example, the was, a colonialist disregard for urban Iraqis opposed to urban dwellers.This had largely to due to political feelings in Europe at that time.However, additionally, Iraq became a more difficult issue for the UK because of domestic issues.These issues includes, political, mainly economic, and other issues.But in both instances domestic politics played a part in the ultimate rule.
gely to due to political feelings in Europe at that time.However, additionally, Iraq became a mere difficult issue for the UK because of domestic issues.These issues includes, political, mainly economic, and other issues.But in both instances domestic politics played a part in the ultimate rule.

4-0 out of 5 stars Proof that history repeats itself
This book is a must read for all. The book speaks volumes about a whole lot. This book proves the old saying history repeats itself. I know nowadays history isn't popular. That subject has been pushed aside for other things. This book shows the danger in that idea. We need to know history so as to hopefully understand the present and avoid disasters.

The book gives a short history of the British occupation of Iraq in the 20s. As you read that story you have to keep telling yourself this book isn't about the current US occupation. The book shows through the British experience how history repeats itself. To bad no one in the White House read this book. You will see that the issues and problems the British experienced are the exact same problems the U.S. has been experiencing over the past 5 years in Iraq.

Much of Iraq today is shaped by the British experience. To understand Iraq one has to understand the British experience. Their actions helped shape events today.This book also offers a good deep explanation of Iraq. It shows how their national bonds are very weak. You see how certain things like the transportation and tribal structure affects things.

Everyone will see something in this book. Most of all you will see in very clear terms how history does repeat itself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blind Invention
It is difficult to understand how anyone can really understand the enigmas and contradictions of 21st Century Iraq with out understanding its 20th Century origins. This remarkable book, successfully for the most part, attempts to provide that understanding.

The Turkish Ottoman Empire essentially imploded at the end of WWI. For strategic reasons the UK was particularly interested in retaining control the former Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia (most of modern Iraq). This aim was complicated by the heady if unrealistic idealism of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson that greatly influenced the way the world was ordered after the "war to end all wars."Rather than simply establishing a colonial government over Mesopotamia, the UK was given a League of Nations `mandate' to exercise what is now called `nation building' and create a viable, democratic, and above all, a stable state called Iraq in place ofthe Ottoman province of Mesopotamia.

This the UK was perfectly willing to do as long it could also ensure that its influence would predominate in the new state. The principal British architects for the new state of Iraq were soldiers and administrators under the India Office or the Colonial Office. Their efforts were hampered by serious misunderstandings of Iraqi society that caused them to divide Iraq between what they believed were a `natural', rural tribal society and a more sophisticated, but corrupt urban population. This misunderstanding caused UK officials to attempt to resurrect a tribal structure that was an anachronism by the end of the 19th Century. Tribal ties were far less important than those of landowner, clan, and village. In the end the UK execution of the mandate produced a dubiously stable monarchy that was not necessarily sympathetic to British interests. In spite what generally were good intentions, the UK only partially succeeded in carrying out its Iraqi mandate. This was do to two reasons: scarcity of funds to maintain the size of garrison to really exert UK control over Iraq in its formative period; and the failure of the UK to really understand the nature of the Iraqi people or the very real nationalism that had been awakened in them after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This book to its credit manages to treat both the British and Iraqis with fairness and appears to have accurately captured the complexities of nation building.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inventing Iraq
Many would be quick to lament the fact that no one from the Bush administration read Toby Dodge's book Inventing Iraq.While it is abundantly clear that many mistakes have been made, Dodge himself states on page 158 that "for U.S. forces currently involved in attempting to reform Iraq's political structures, the libaries are full of books that provide no guidance.This is an important point because it underscores the fact that the situation facing the U.S. today is markedly different than one facing the British.Iraq was just coming into existance as a political entity and there was no sense of a collective "Iraqi" identity or nationalism when the British were involved.Also, Iraq's political development from 1932 onward would alter the society in many important ways.

You might be able to accuse Dodge of writing a book that told his readers more about his own beliefs than Iraq's early development because of his timing.This book was published in 2003 (right around the time of the U.S. invasion), and it has many noticeable comparisons between the British and American experiences.For example, he notes that the British thought they would receive a warm welcome by Iraqis just in the same way that the "flowers and candy" lines were tossed around by the Bush administration.These types of examples don't fill the book, but there are enough of them to make Dodge appear as if he's making a statement about the 2003 war.

Rather than going into an unorganized account of the British mandate period, Dodge offers an array of chapters that focus on particular details such as land reform, and the rural/urban divide.This type of organization will be a source of frustration for some because by focusing on these types of details, Dodge sometimes loses track of the bigger picture.This type of criticism has some validity, but the overall result is a revealing look at the Mandate period.

If Dodge is to be faulted for anything in Inventing Iraq, it would have to be his lack of a discussion of domestic British politics.He doesn't completely ignore this area, but no discussion of what's currently happening in Iraq would be complete without also discussing how events were being shaped in Washington.Dodge goes to great lengths to discuss what he calls "Oriental Despotism" in attempting to explain British actions and motives, but this is ultimately not as effective as analysis of domestic British pressures.

These minor problems notwithstanding, Inventing Iraq is a concise and well-written book that has a lot to offer to anyone interested in modern Iraq's origins.At 171 pages, it's a quick read and while prior research on Iraq certainly helps with this book, it's not a requirement.If one were to make a top ten list of Iraq history/politics books, Inventing Iraq should certainly be on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inventing Iraq: The Failure Of Nation Building And A History Denied
great background history to today's strategic events in Middle East ... Read more

4. What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It
by Trish Wood
Paperback: 352 Pages (2007-11-02)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$4.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316016713
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"A visceral account of the war . . . honest, agenda-free, and chilling." -New York Times Book Review

The Iraq war officially began on March 20, 2003, and since then more than one million young Americans have rotated through the country's insurgent-infested hot spots. But although stories of dramatic ambushes and attacks dominate the front pages of newspapers, most of us do not truly know what the war is like for the Americans who fight it.

What Was Asked of Us helps us bridge that gap. The in-depth and intensely probing interviews this book brings together document the soldiers' experiences and darkest secrets, offering a multitude of authentic, unfiltered voices - at times raw and emotional, at other times eloquent and lyrical. These voices walk us through the war, from the successful push to Baghdad, through the erroneous "Mission Accomplished" moment, and into the dangerous, murky present.

"Monumental. . . . Amid the glut of policy debates, and amid the flurry of news reports that add names each day to the lists of the dead, Trish Wood has produced what is perhaps, to date, the only text about Iraq that matter."- San Francisco Chronicle

"An illuminating glimpse of American fighters' experiences in Iraq. . . . There are moments of strange beauty in the soldiers' recollections." -Chicago Tribune

"Stunning . . . chillingly eloquent. . . . Powerful and unflinchingly honest, Wood's book deserves to be a bestseller." -People ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

2-0 out of 5 stars Anti War Agenda
Trish Wood carefully handpicked those who she wanted in her book to make the book looked balanced and unbiased, when in fact it is anti war sentiment all the way. I am not trying to vilify the soldiers in this book for their experiences where VERY REAL, but to use soldier's feelings and emotions to get Trish's agenda across is very unsavory. There are however a couple of stories like Ken Davis, Daniel B Cotnoir, Tania Quinnones and Father David Sivret who have the most coherent views and perceptions and can do additudes that say it best about the war. All wars are ugly. If you would like to hear the stories just like these men have been through with their feelings and emotions. Their attitude amazes me for all the HELL they been through and they are striving to make it!The book is "Hidden Battles on The Unseen Fronts". It is about PTSD and TBI. I honor these soldiers and their courage getting through the war and the war they fight now. Not the coke head that joined the military and now works at a seven eleven and does not take an ounce of responsibility for his personal well being. Or the soldier who was home driving with another soldier friend who who saw a bumper sticker that said,"Freedom isn't free" who is so angry at us civilians "who" don't get it since we were not there. Let me tell you something. All of us back home who had friends and family that went over to Afghanistan and Iraq. It touched us all. We buried soldiers in our town. I know the mother who buried a special forces son who has a sign at the end of her driveway that say's the same thing on the bumper sticker. She knows her sons blood was shed. It is very "real" to us. I have talked to soldiers and read extensively from the get go what you all have been though. I may not have been right there where you were. But I do GET IT!I hope you can find help for your rage. Trisha Wood dishonors the men and women surviving in both theaters of war that have stuck it out courageously and have performed many courageous acts and not whine about.

5-0 out of 5 stars When reality become a blur
This book will help broaden ones perspective with new insights concerning our out of the picture, out of mind war. What's unique about this book is how the Author's format captures so much rawness from the areas of operations, giving this book avariety of extreme textures (Euphemism). Furthermore, this book reminds me how as a rule and a practice only young men and women have the nerves to tolerate playing Russian roulette with their lives 24/7 for a couple tours of duty. Applying logic to our newer political war of course won't work, it's a mindbender; but riddle me this: hundreds at first and now thousands of our Fathers, Husbands, Sons, Brothers, Cousins, Uncles, Nephews and Buddieshave been killed, mutilated and suffer from p.t.s.d, due to the lack of up-armored humvees, but 1 B-2 stealth bomber costs 1.5 billion dollars, which as of anytime, still has not be used for anything crucial (Just one example). Who's playing the fool ?!, somebody needs to go to Hell. Giving it up for the game is fair , giving it up for phantoms.

4-0 out of 5 stars Honest, profane, gritty, Grunt's Eye View of Iraq
This is an honest, gritty and haunting book which gives a "grunt's eye view" of the war in Iraq. The author went to significant lengths to fact check these stories, so to the best of her ability they are true as related. The contributors to the book represent a cross section of those one would expect, from absolute supporters of the war to those who hated every aspect of it, yet all did their time and duty. It is refreshing to hear from those who were at the very pointy end of the spear, told in their own vernacular, often profane and sometimes outright maddening, as the reader is exposed to the harsh realities of modern day guerrilla and urban warfare, with enemies mixed with innocent civilians.This book has a very dark side, and probably will be best read over a period of time, as the horrors related herein can be depressing and sometimes revolting. Some of the photographs are very graphic. Nonetheless, the story that is revealed is captivating in its own way. This book is highly recommended for those who have interest in small unit tactics and individual soldiers who are drawn from our society at large and who are sent to do our nation's most difficult missions, often unrewarded and seldom remembered except by their families and comrades in arms.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the Uniform
As a psychologist on one of this country's larger military bases, I spend much of my time listening to men and women with similar `stories' that need to be told - for us, for them. What impressed me the most about this book was that, unlike many of the others I've read, it revealed what I see over and over in my work - the complexity and uniqueness of any given Soldier's (or Marine's) experience.Each of the chapters offers us a look into the mind and often soul of an individual tasked with fighting this particular war.And each is different. The battles themselves (both inside and outside the wire) may be shared in the moment but are experienced, given meaning and retold through the lens of each troop's personal history.I watch Soldiers coming and going on post all day and from a distance, in uniform, they all look the same. Interchangeable. Troops. Then one of them walks into my office and I get to meet the man or woman wearing the uniform, and hear their stories. They may sit with me and say little in words; they may talk non-stop.I never hear the same chapter but they're all from the same book. Trish Wood has poignantly given us one edition of that book, presenting both the unique narrative of the individual and the complex commonalities of battlefield culture.Should be required reading for all military psychologists.Bravo.

5-0 out of 5 stars If You're Looking for a Good Book about the Iraq War...

The only other book I've read about the war was also good, but dealt more with the administrative failures, focusing on life in Baghdad's green zone. This book cuts a broader swath, and though the editor's misgivings about the war are apparent, she evokes a wide range of complex emotions and reactions from the soldiers she interviews. To simply call it "balanced" is too narrow. At a time when criticizing civilian leadership for pretense and mismanagement has almost become an American past time --- to the point where it might overwhelm a more complex and nuanced understanding of present circumstances --- this book was a was a stark reminder of how much is at stake, regardless of the course America takes.

During this war I've struggled to keep myself informed, to keep my interest in this historic sacrifice fresh, but too often I feel almost entirely insulated. Too often my interest wanes. What Was Asked of Us contains some of the first stories shared by today's soldiers at war, stories which are sobering and inspiring. I was moved by these soldiers' depth of emotion, irrespective of their varying backgrounds, education, and opinions about the war.

It's an easy, gripping read. And it is a history, at least of the first two years. One of the great virtues of this book is its organization. The stories outline the transition of the War and of the country from the initial invasion, through the first months of occupation, and gradually toward the collective, discouraging revelation that the occupation was destined to become a drawn out and bloody affair. Key events that have marked this progression are described by the soldiers, who often experienced them first hand (e.g. the War's first suicide bomb).

My point is, don't be fooled into thinking that this is merely 300 pages of shock treatment and war tragedies that will leave you more confused than ever about what's happening in Iraq. In fact, as I near the end of the book I'm already wondering if there will be something akin to a "second edition" that relates the experiences of those serving during the War's later phases, such as the spike in violence after the Samarra mosque bombings, and of course the "surge," etc. ... Read more

5. Iraq: A Political History from Independence to Occupation
by Adeed Dawisha
Hardcover: 408 Pages (2009-02-17)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$20.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691139571
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With each day that passed after the 2003 invasion, the United States seemed to sink deeper in the treacherous quicksand of Iraq's social discord, floundering in the face of deep ethno-sectarian divisions that have impeded the creation of a viable state and the molding of a unified Iraqi identity. Yet as Adeed Dawisha shows in this superb political history, the story of a fragile and socially fractured Iraq did not begin with the invasion--it is as old as Iraq itself.

Dawisha traces the history of the Iraqi state from its inception in 1921 following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and up to the present day. He demonstrates how from the very beginning Iraq's ruling elites sought to unify this ethnically diverse and politically explosive society by developing state governance, fostering democratic institutions, and forging a national identity. Dawisha, who was born and raised in Iraq, gives rare insight into this culturally rich but chronically divided nation, drawing on a wealth of Arabic and Western sources to describe the fortunes and calamities of a state that was assembled by the British in the wake of World War I and which today faces what may be the most serious threat to survival that it has ever known.

Iraq is required reading for anyone seeking to make sense of what's going on in Iraq today, and why it has been so difficult to create a viable government there.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good summary of Iraqi national politics
Pay close attention to the subtitle: "A Political History from Independence to Occupation." The emphasis here should be on "Political History" - this book provides a good account of Iraq's national level politics in the 20th century, but contains very little coverage of the rest of the country during the period.

Chapters two through eight cover Baghdad politics between 1921 and 1958, and account for about two-thirds of the book. Three chapters cover the 1921-36 period, with Dawisha attempting to have one chapter be purely chronological while the other two are more topical, describing the attendant circumstances, such as the existence of protests in various parts of the countries or Sati al-Husri's pan-Arabist education/indoctrination programs. But because the details almost all related to happenings in Baghdad, there is a great deal of repetition of the same facts over and over, perhaps from a slightly different angle each time.

There is virtually no discussion of social, economic or religious currents, except to mention them in passing, but with insufficient detail for the reader to understand their importance. Significant in this regard is the historical development of the Shia clerical establishment, which played a key role in the 1920 revolt and was in stagnation after that point until 2003. Dawisha mentions the clerical role in 1920, several times, but explains nothing about the clerical establishment itself, its economic and social decline in the decades that followed (to explain why the 1920 events were not repeated until 2003), the importance of Iranian ties to the shrine cities during this time, or anything more than a passing reference to the great urban migration of the Shia poor, which has had such an important impact over contemporary events.

What Dawisha does well is explain why democracy failed in Iraq. The revolving door of the prime minister's office in the 1921-58 period, and the bizarre paradox of tolerant authoritarianism (elections were rigged, but political opposition leaders rarely faced a threat to their lives) during this period are explained well, and in a way that shows how the period paved the way for the nightmare that was to come. Dawisha poignantly points to how those who attempted to kill Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1959, including the young Saddam Hussein, were pardoned by 1961. Qasim would be killed in a coup in 1963, and when Saddam had his time to rule, no one who showed the slightest tendency toward opposition would live to coup another day.

The last three chapters cover three periods: 1958-1968 (the "Authoritarian Republic"/Abd al-Karim Qasim, Abd al-Salam Arif, Abd al-Rahman Arif), 1968-2003 (the Baathist/Saddam Hussein period) and the 2003-2007 period. The 1958-68 chapter is probably the most insightful of these. The Baathist period is mainly dominated by anecdotes of the horror of Saddam's rule, rather than a narrative. The eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which cost so many Iraqis their lives and changed the country forever, is covered in a single page. And it isn't until the book reaches 1980 that Dawisha mentions Muhammad Baqir Sadr and the Dawa Party, which Sadr helped found in 1958, and only then to report Baqir Sadr's murder by the regime. Quite a bit was happening in the interim that Dawisha passes over.
Dawisha's coverage of the post-2003 period broadly acceptable but there isn't much nuance. In discussing the Shia political parties, for example, he mentions four key parties - the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Dawa, the Sadr faction and Fadhila - without discussing the ISCI-Sadr blood feud, that Fadhila is a branch of the Sadrist movement, or anything useful about the ISCI-Dawa relationship. The Sunni Awakening and the Iranian role in post-2003 period are very briefly discussed.

If you only plan to read one history of Iraq, read Charles Tripp's "History of Iraq" rather than this. But if you've read that and you want to know more, you could read this book for a better understanding of national politics, and the books of Yitzhak Nakash (buy "The Shiis of Iraq," NOT "Reaching for Power") and Mier Litvak on the Shia. I've written Amazon reviews on the latter two authors' books you may want to check out.
... Read more

6. From Mesopotamia to Iraq: A Concise History
by Hans J. Nissen, Peter Heine
Paperback: 192 Pages (2009-09-30)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$10.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226586642
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The recent reopening of Iraq’s National Museum attracted worldwide attention, underscoring the country’s dual image as both the cradle of civilization and a contemporary geopolitical battleground. A sweeping account of the rich history that has played out between these chronological poles, From Mesopotamia to Iraq looks back through 10,000 years of the region’s deeply significant yet increasingly overshadowed past.


Hans J. Nissen and Peter Heine begin by explaining how ancient Mesopotamian inventions—including urban society, a system of writing, and mathematical texts that anticipated Pythagoras—profoundly influenced the course of human history. These towering innovations, they go on to reveal, have sometimes obscured the major role Mesopotamia continued to play on the world stage. Alexander the Great, for example, was fascinated by Babylon and eventually died there. Seventh-century Muslim armies made the region one of their first conquests outside the Arabian peninsula. And the Arab caliphs who ruled for centuries after the invasion built the magnificent city of Baghdad, attracting legions of artists and scientists. Tracing the evolution of this vibrant country into a contested part of the Ottoman Empire, a twentieth-century British colony, a republic ruled by Saddam Hussein, and the democracy it has become, Nissen and Heine repair the fragmented image of Iraq that has come to dominate our collective imagination.


In hardly any other continuously inhabited part of the globe can we chart such developments in politics, economy, and culture across so extended a period of time. By doing just that, the authors illuminate nothing less than the forces that have made the world what it is today.

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars From the birth of civilization to the demise of culture
This remarkably compact history of the region known as the cradle of civilization covers thousands of years of history in less than 200 easy-to-read pages.The book is weighted toward ancient history (Babylonia, Mesopotamia, etc.) but it also offers succinct chapters on the rise of Islam, the Middle Ages, the Ottoman period, as well as the founding of modern Iraq.The book ends with a meditation on Iraq's uncertain future.Highly recommended if you want a quick take on the history of one of the world's most important--and threatened--regions. ... Read more

7. Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)
by Col. Peter R. Mansoor
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-09-29)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300158475
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This compelling book presents an unparalleled record of what happened after U.S. forces seized Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Army Colonel Peter R. Mansoor, the on-the-ground commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division—the “Ready First Combat Team”—describes his brigade’s first year in Iraq, from the sweltering, chaotic summer after the Ba’athists’ defeat to the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government a year later. Uniquely positioned to observe, record, and assess the events of that fateful year, Mansoor now explains what went right and wrong as the U.S. military confronted an insurgency of unexpected strength and tenacity.


Drawing not only on his own daily combat journal but also on observations by embedded reporters, news reports, combat logs, archived e-mails, and many other sources, Mansoor offers a contemporary record of the valor, motivations, and resolve of the 1st Brigade and its attachments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet this book has a deeper significance than a personal memoir or unit history. Baghdad at Sunrise provides a detailed, nuanced analysis of U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Iraq, and along with it critically important lessons for America’s military and political leaders of the twenty-first century.


(20080914) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Filling in the Perspective--yet to be completed
Colonel Mansoor's excellent work fills a vital need in the continuing perspective of US interests in the Middle East and southwest Asia. In fact, as times shrink, this foreign policy reality is rapidly spreading to all overseas operations.

While the military has learned this, the stripped suit and NSC and White House still have not done so.

American political leadership appears frozen in time, while the world goes on at ever increasing velocity, dealing with things as they are rather than how we would prefer to find them. Colonel Mansoor and other senior field commanders must deal with the real world and Baghdad at Sunrise is an excellent account of going about doing so.

From my experience there are three books which, together, complete the perspective on what has gone right, what has gone wrong--and why--and where we are headed in the unsymmetrical warfare linked statecraft arena: "Cobra II" (Gordon and Trainor) bluntly reveals the failures of the Department of Defense (Rumsfeld), creating, by default, much of the reason we are still engaged in combat in IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, and PAKISTAN; "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" (Chandrasekaran) provides inside views of the civilian failures following after "Cobra II," and now "Baghdad at Sunrise" provides military perspective of the "Imperial Life. . ." time frame.

What is apparent as one considers these three works is the utter failure in application and practice of the so-called Country Team concept of US Strategy. I suggest that this is the result of too many civilian novices who are long on opinions and short on experience, and who usually spend little time on the ground.

It appears that the field military commanders in IRAQ (hopefully not in AFGHANISTAN, but I doubt it) are continually frustrated trying to determine which US Country Team is in command:State, President, DOD (not the same thing as military), USAID (and mutations), or CIA (and mutations). The highly motivated and dedicated enemies confronting us in the field do not have to contend with such nonsense.

Well done, Dr. Mansoor, and appreciation to the Kagans for this needful perspective. Please keep it up.

Louis T Dechert, US Army Special Forces, Retired

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much of the Verticle Pronoun
General Creighton Abrams, the man whom they named the M-1 tank after, was often asked why he did not write an autobiography. His reply was characteristic and short - "too much use of the verticle pronoun". And that is why I rated book Baghdad at Sunrise a one.

I found the author using the word I or me too much. He's incredbily quick at name dropping every single mentor he ever had past and present in the Army. Every single leader he served was with was the best. They all became fast friends. Author Mansoor quickly lets us know he graduated top of his West Point class and although he preferred teaching military lessons at West Point, one of his mentors suggested he command a Brigade so he could have that experience.

I know you have to have self confidence and ego to be a leader at this level. But every single problem Mansoor encountered was solved quickly....by him. He was involved in every fire fight, no matter how far he was....from the front. By radio and chopper, he successfully led his troopers through the battle.

Are there insights of this war here? Sure. Is it interesting to know some of the details that went on during his phase of the Iragi war? Yup. This book just read like someone was posturing for his bosses to say "see what a great job I did over there"? Mansoor could have learned from the best Army leader of the 20th century General Abrams and not used all of those "I's". Chuck Yeager, James Doolittle wrote autobiographies but found the right chord or balance on the retelling of the story without making themselves the center of it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excelllent book!
I found this an excellent read!I have met Peter Mansoor and listened to him speak and he is an sxcellent spokesman for The Ohio State University (where he now teaches) and for the U.S. Army.

Pete Anderson

1-0 out of 5 stars Too much self-promotion
Since other books on the Surge spoke highly of Mansoor Baghdad at Sunrise seemed an inevitable purchase. However, in his own book Mansoor continues to speak highly of ... himself. This incessant personal branding makes the book unbearable, although its quite possible the underlying message is interesting and relevant. However, for me the man shot himself in the foot.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great testimonial to a great brigade and its command.
I personally know the author, having worked with the Ready First Combat Team for many years prior to Col. Mansoor's command.In his book Pete Mansoor brings to light the courage, determination and heroism of all the soldiers under his command.His candid and open account of what happened during this deployment is refreshingly objective and honest.Having worked and to some extent lived among the soldiers, their families and the command, this narrative made me further realize how priviliged I was to be able to support the RFCT.I recommend this book to anyone who wants a true and accurate picture of our military's challenges in Baghdad during the 2003-2004 deployment, which eventually led to present day outcomes and events.I am proud to have known Col. Pete Mansoor, and I am proud to have served the finest brigade in the Ist Armored Division and the entire U.S. Army. ... Read more

8. Ancient Iraq: Third Edition (Penguin History)
by Georges Roux
Paperback: 576 Pages (1993-03-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$9.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 014012523X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The book provides an introduction to the history of ancient Mesopotamia and its civilizations, incorporating archaeological and historical finds up to 1992. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Captivating
With the current problems and recent war in modern Iraq, I wished to find out more about ancient Iraq and the civilisations that have now become ghosts of history.Dr Roux has captivated me with his exceptionally well researched and fascinating history of this cradle of our civilisation. For an historical account, it is richly rewarding, particularly to the layman or would-be scholar of the Ancient Near East since it sets out the events, the characters, the wars, the triumphs and tragedies of these ancient peoples in a logical, clear, concise, colourfulbut entrancing story.I am grateful to the late Dr Roux for sparking a new and exciting interest in my life with his wonderful book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reads like textbook
This book reads very much like textbook. However if you are looking for a beginners book on the history of Iraq, as i was, this is a great book. You may fall asleep while reading it from time to time but you will also learn a lot about the civilizations or early(relative term i guess)Iraq.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Roux's 'Ancient Iraq'
From my research, this seems to be the most lauded English history of the Mesopotamia region laid out in chronological order. Its worthy of its praise. Roux has amended his magazine articles into an excellent and readable history. There are a few odd bouts in the work; Roux takes an odd, patronizing tone when discussing religion, for example. The work may be intimidating at 425 pages, but, overall, its an extensive resource for Mesopotamian history. This edition is supplemented with an extensize ordering of king-lists and political maps.

5-0 out of 5 stars really good survey
Good, concrete and short survey of middle east antiquity, which was very complex. Highly recommended for everyone interested in the topic, who does not want or does not like to go through many fat volumes, which are in most cases written with a dry academic style.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK but there are now better books for the general reader
Any general reader should also consider Michael Roaf's The Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

Roux's work definitely has its strengths, which include 428 pages of detailed text, frequent citations and 66 pages of footnotes.Its weaknesses include that the last edition is now 17 years old (as of 2009) and the illustrations are very mediocre, but I think its greatest failing is its maps. Except for 1 or 2 small maps in the text, the only maps are 4 two page maps in the back following the footnotes.Roux constantly refers to cities, regions and geographical features throughout the book, so if one does not know the geography of Mesopotamia and the surrounding area extremely well, including both ancient and modern names, then a huge amount of time is spent searching the 4 maps, which are rather small in the paperback edition, or putting down the book to do an online search.

Michael Roaf's The Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East is naturally filled with maps specific to the topic being discussed, and has vastly better illustrations.Its text is as good as Roux's, if somewhat less detailed and without the citations.Most importantly, the maps and illustrations provide visual reference points which I found very helpful when reading about 3,000+ years of history. Roux's book is 99.9% text so that king after king, city after city and battle after battle can turn into quite a blur.

If I were in college writing a paper of the king by king and battle by battle sort, I would use Roux as a valuable resource and starting point for its thousands of citations. However, the general reader who wants to learn more than a Wikipedia article's worth about Sumer, Babylon and Assyria will likely do better with Michael Roaf's excellent work that strikes a great balance between the visual and the textual.
... Read more

9. A Short History of Iraq 2nd edition (2nd Edition)
by Thabit Abdullah
Paperback: 224 Pages (2010-10-07)
list price: US$34.00 -- used & new: US$27.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1405859377
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This well regarded and non-partisan book is brought up to date in its second edition. A complete history of twentieth and twenty-first century Iraq.

  • Completely revised and up-to-date, takes into account the recent Iraq war and its aftermath

  • A wide-ranging account drawing from political and social themes

  • Long chronological range, providing full context to the contemporary situation

... Read more

10. The Secret History of the Iraq War
by Yossef Bodansky
Paperback: 576 Pages (2005-05-31)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$1.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060736801
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In the months leading up to March 2003, fresh from its swift and heady victory in Afghanistan, the Bush administration mobilized the United States armed forces to overthrow the government of Iraq. Eight months after the president declared an end to major combat operations, Saddam Hussein was captured in a farmhouse in Al-Dawr. And yet neither peace nor democracy has taken hold in Iraq; instead the country has plunged into terrorist insurgency and guerrilla warfare, with no end in sight. What went wrong?

In The Secret History of the Iraq War, bestselling author Yossef Bodansky offers an astonishing new account of the war and its aftermath—a war that was doomed from the start, he argues, by the massive and systemic failures of the American intelligence community. Drawing back the curtain of politicized debate, Bodansky—a longtime expert and director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare—reveals that nearly every aspect of America's conflict with Iraq has been misunderstood, in both the court of public opinion and the White House itself. Among his revelations:

  • The most authoritative account of Saddam Hussein's support for Islamic terrorist organizations—including extensive new reporting on his active cooperation with al-Qaeda in Iraq long after the fall of Baghdad

  • Extensive new information on Iraq's major chemical and biological weapons programs—including North Korea's role in building still-undetected secret storage facilities and Iraq's transfer of banned materials to Syria, Iran, and Libya

  • The first account of Saddam's plan for Iraq, Syria, and Iran to join Yasser Arafat's Palestinian forces to attack Israel, throw the region into turmoil, and upend the American campaign

  • The untold story of Russia's attempt to launch a coup against Saddam before the war—and how the CIA thwarted it by ensuring that Iraq was forewarned

  • Dramatic details about Saddam's final days on the run, including the untold story of a near miss with U.S. troops and the stunning revelation that Saddam was already in custody at the time of his capture—and was probably betrayed by members of his own Tikriti clan

  • The definitive account of the anti-U.S. resistance and uprising in Iraq, as the American invasion ignited an Islamic jihad and Iran-inspired intifada, threatening to plunge the region into irreversible chaos fueled by hatred and revenge

  • Revelations about the direct involvement of Osama bin Laden in the terrorism campaigns in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Middle East—including the major role played by Iran and HizbAllah in al-Qaeda's operations

Drawing upon an extraordinary wealth of previously untapped intelligence and regional sources, The Secret History of the Iraq War presents the most detailed, fascinating, and convincing account of the most controversial war of our times—and offers a sobering indictment of an intelligence system that failed the White House, the American military, and the people of the Middle East.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

1-0 out of 5 stars Utter nonsense disguised as "fact"
One word: bollocks.

Remember: this is the guy who coined the phrase "axis of evil".He's simply a Zionist hack who happens to have gotten on the Congressional gravy train.The fact that some in Congress and the Bushies take him seriously is no reason for anyone else to do so.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Real Story of the Iraq War
The problem with trying to ascertain what's actually happening with any national story is that the information received is filtered through the biases and agendas of the people disseminating it. Any political entity will put a favorable "spin" on the issue, while the mainstream media will report only those parts that align with its liberal left-wing worldview. One has to find a source that is both objective and complete.

Yossef Bodansky's "The Secret History of the Iraq War" is one of those complete and objective sources. In excruciating detail, Bodansky conveys the real story of the Iraq War behind the filtered headlines. He presents evidence to suggest that:

- Iraq did indeed have connections with al Qaida before 9/11, and WMDs before the Iraq War.
- Iran and Syria were sponsors of terrorists groups gearing up for more attacks on Israel before the invasion.
- Iraq's WMDs were moved to Syria before the invasion, therefore Bush did not lie about them being there.
- Poor intelligence and a fatal misunderstanding of Iraqi culture and social structure, along with arrogance and denial by the Bush administration led to the current problems America has now in Iraq.
- The war did, in fact, act as a magnet for terrorists around the globe to fight American forces in Iraq instead of planning attacks on American soil.
- That Syria and Iran are key agitators in Iraq to this day.

However incompetently the intervention has been in Iraq by the Bush administration, the overarching message of Bodansky's book is that the invasion was sufficient to upset the grandiose plans of Saddam Hussein, as well as terrorist groups and their state sponsors, Iran and Syria, to develop nuclear weapons and threaten Israeli and American interests. In that sense, the invasion did its job.

This book is uncited, and those who don't like what they're reading may dismiss his accounts out-of-hand since they can't be corroborated by the reader. Bodansky explains that "precise notation of all sources is inadvisable in this kind of writing, specifically because doing so could endanger the safety and survival of the human sources." Given the sensitive nature of the information he presents, "The omission of precise source notes is the least one can do." The reader will simply have to trust the reputation and credentials of the author.

This book is not a fun read. It's long, the details can be mind-numbing and the reader needs a program to keep track of all the al-Whosits (thus the three-star rating.) But the reader who successfully completes the book will have an unblemished understanding of all the machinations and drama that form the real story of the war, and if that's your goal, then this is the book for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
This is an interesting book. Anyone who is interested in an alternative to the right wing talk radio and tv news should seriously consider checking out the Thom Hartmann radio show opposite Rush Limbaugh weekdays at: thomhartmann dot com / showlisten.shtml

Whether democrat, republican, or indepedent, so many of the facts out there are completely ignored by the mainstream media and talk shows. This show is one strong example of an examination of the facts regardless of your political affiliation. I am not affiliated with the show in any way, just struck by the facts so many seem to ignore.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you don't get IT, you won't get IT
Mr. Bodansky, in stunning detail, reveals the nature what we face in the Middle East. After years in pursuit of insight into the true nature of the Middle Eastern Terrorism threat this book provides the best source ever for thoughtful people to absorb and think through what we face.Yes, the book addresses a variety of issues not the least of which is the many mis-steps our political and intelligence leadership made.But the real value of the book is the sense of context that results from a careful reading.If your interested in "Gettin It" in terms of the dynamics and threats that are present in tbe Middle East, this book is a MUST.

3-0 out of 5 stars Big questions still remain...
The Secret History of the Iraq War covers the period of mid-2002 to the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003.The edition I read had an afterword that included (briefly) some of the events to May 2004.Therefore, the book leaves us mid-stream and a lot of things that have happened since are not covered (for example, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, the 2004 election, etc).

The main value of this book is the explanation of the Arab point of view, and Bodansky does a good job of explaining why the Arab world and Iraqi people didn't support the US more in our efforts to topple Saddam, as hated as he was.The American perspective is almost totally ignored, except to say where Bush & Co. got it wrong and misread the situation.The evidence presented by Colin Powell to the UN is not analyzed (and is barely even mentioned), and the administration are portrayed as single-minded warmongers.

To read the book, it makes it sound like Iraq was practically dripping with chemical weapons, which magically disappear without a trace.Bodansky's explanation for this is less than satisfying.Furthermore, Bodansky expects us to believe that he knew all this, but somehow US intelligence did not (or chose to ignore it).

Read it for a glimpse of the Arab perspective, but wait for a more authoritative history to answer some of the bigger questions. ... Read more

11. A People's History of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements and the Left 1924-2004
by Ilario Salucci
Paperback: 192 Pages (2005-04-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$7.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931859140
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Whether standing up to British occupiers, the monarchy they installed or the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein-who for many years was a friend and ally of the United States-the workers' movement and the Left in Iraq have a rich history of fighting for a more democratic society.

This is the only book of its kind on the history of the Left and workers' movements in Iraq. It includes a valuable analysis of the Iraqi Communist Party, which now is part of the discussion about the future of an independent Iraq.

The Italian activist and journalist Ilario Salucci has spent years studying the hidden history of resistance in Iraq.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
"A People's History of Iraq" is the title that Haymarket Books chose to give the English translation of this book, probably to help sales - the original Italian edition never claimed to be anything more than a history of the Iraqi communist movement.If you are looking for a general history of Iraq, this is not the book for you.

If you are looking for a book about that presents the various twists and turns in the policies of the Iraqi Communist Party in a more-or-less unsympathetic light - Salucci takes a critical view of just about every decision ever made by the Iraqi communists - well, this just might be the book for you.

It seems like most of the actual history in this book is taken directly from a book called "The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq" by Hanna Batatu.The excerpts from Batatu's book made me want to read it.The only thing that's holding me back is that Batatu's book is 1300 pages long.

Still, I learned a few things from this short book - enough to want to learn more.

4-0 out of 5 stars Are there any women in Iraq?
This slim volume focuses almost exclusively on the activities of the Iraq Communist Party (ICP) and is a powerful antidote to the patronizing orientalism many leftists and anti-war activists have towards Iraq. Through the lens of the ICP, Salucci shatters the illusion that Iraq is a backward, undeveloped society dominated exclusively by a reactionary political Islam without any substantial leftist history. Revealed is a society that grows from a British-installed monarchy with an agrarian economy, through a period of communist resistance to the monarchy and colonial exploitation that was interwoven with tribal and peasant uprisings, to the labor struggles of an emerging industrial proletariat centered on the oil industry. Salucci illuminates this with a very useful chronology of events, many statistics regarding land distribution, domestic production, and occupational employment, and a historical narrative of the many strikes and uprisings during the twentieth century. Even with these other details, the text will not serve well as a general history of Iraq, as it is focused almost exclusively on the politics and fluctuations of the ICP. This is both a strength and a weakness of the book.

The ICP has generally argued that it needed to support a bourgeois revolution against the monarchy and feudal interests in Iraq, that would then set up a bourgeois government which would develop Iraq on an industrial basis. The problem with this strategy* is that the bourgeoisie as a class in Iraq has always been weak and small, tied first to the interests of land-owning sheikhs. It was never able to seize the state or industrially develop Iraq.

Instead, the military took power and developed Iraq, creating a middle class dependent completely on the growing state apparatus for their position. It was the military officers and state bureaucrats that the Ba'ath party made its base of support. While the ICP claimed to be organizing in the interests of the working class and peasants in Iraq, it continually sidelined the demands of the oppressed classes to support the weak interests of the bourgeoisie.

The Iraqi Communist Party continued to engage in actions that seem short-sighted, opportunistic, and counter-revolutionary, as they on one hand tried to make some accommodation with the existing state and military (when the state and military would tolerate them), and on the other hand advanced the interests of the petite-bourgeoisie (even when that class was incapable of advancing its own interest). Such logic led the ICP to oppose land reform in the 1950s. Further, arguing that Iraq should develop into its own bourgeois republic, the party opposed the Nasserite and Ba'athist pan-Arab socialist position of uniting with Syria and Egypt. Even after decades of repression by the Ba'ath party and Saddam Hussein, including periods during which it engaged in armed struggle against the state, the ICP continued to try to make itself available to the regime. In one of its greatest misjudgments, it chose not to oppose Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, and had little presence in the uprising following the Iraqi army's withdrawal.

At various times, elements of the ICP have rejected its dominant ideology of supporting the bourgeoisie, instead forming various splits influenced by Maoism, Guevarism, and the ultra-left. The book's inclusion of a speech by Qasim Hasan (Nazim) to the Comintern in 1935 alongside a 2003 statement by the Central Committee of the ICP shows how far the ICP has drifted in its revolutionary commitments. This drift has included opportunistically joining the U.S.-propped-up governing council, a collaborationist gambit which has not led to any sort of gains for the ICP in the most recent elections.

Salucci also more sympathetically describes the Workers Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI) which has always rejected the U.S. occupation, and primarily focuses on social mobilization, mass protest and organizing among the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq (UUI), and the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) as a way of building towards revolution. The WCPI has rejected both the collaborationist route of the ICP and the armed struggle being waged by "Islamic fascism".

"The Shoras Will Heal the Wounds of Kurdistan's Exploited!"
- slogan from the 1991 uprising

With the exception of a passing paragraph reference to the shora uprisings in 1991 and inclusion of a "Statement of the Sulaimaniya Shora," there is little in Salucci's book about one of the most recent significant events in Iraq's left history. With the defeat of the Iraqi army in Kuwait, troops deserted and mutinied as they returned to southern Iraq. Simultaneously in the north, workers' councils (shoras) were setup in Sulaimaniya, Hawlir, Kirkuk, Rania and Nasro Bareeka.

Considering the involvement of the "March of Communism" Group, Communist Perspective, and other groups to the left of the ICP, and considering the role the shora uprising had in popular consciousness and the regroupment of the extreme left in Iraq into the WCPI, it seems odd that Salucci did not devote more discussion to this uprising, its suppression, and its effects on the Iraqi working class. For example, Jalal Talibani, as leader of the PUK (supported by the U.K.), and Masud Barzani, as leader of the KDP (supported by the U.S.A.), played substantial roles in the cooptation and suppression of the shora uprising. With the recent elections at the end of 2005, Barzani and Talibani have worked out that Talibani will continue to be president of Iraq.

For more information about the Shoras in 1991, readers may want to review "The Kurdish Uprising..." pamphlet, as well as "10 Days that Shook Iraq" by Wildcat UK.

Are There Any Women in Iraq? Or Are They Just Not People?

Given the lack of discussion in this book, it would not appear that women exist in Iraq. Women's organizations in Iraq are at least as old as the ICP: in 1924 the Women's Empowerment Society (Jameat al Nahda al-Nisaeya) was formed, followed by the Kurdish Women's Foundation in 1928. Considering Salucci's focus on the ICP, it is strange that he did not even mention the foundation of the ICP-supported League for the Defense of Women's Rights in the early 1950s. The League reached a membership of 40,000 between 1958 and 1963, and published a weekly periodical titled "14 July."

In 1968, the Ba'ath party banned other political parties and independent civil-society organizations, including women's groups. Certain rights were codified by the government, including divorce and child custody. Still, the state decreed that except where spelled out by state law, the sharia would still be followed. The Ba'ath formed the General Federation of Iraqi Women in 1969. The GFIW, through its control of 250 rural and urban communities, offered job training, education, and other social programs to women. The GFIW was also the only legal channel through which women could lobby for* reforms in regard to their status under the law and personal status code. By 1997, 47% of all Iraqi women were members of the GFIW. Many women still criticized the GFIW as a propaganda arm of the state.

Advances in women's rights continued under the Ba'ath regime into the 1980s, with women gaining the right to stand for election in parliament and local government. Education became mandatory for girls, and literacy programs became available for adults--by 1987, 75% of Iraqi women were literate. Women could join the large civil service workforce, where laws were established for equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits, and freedom from harassment.

During the Iraq-Iran war, the participation of women in the civil service workforce soared to 70%. Yet, the government also banned contraception. With the end of the Iraq-Iran war and the failure to hold Kuwait with the Gulf War, women were displaced from employment by the demobilization of male Iraqi soldiers. Saddam Hussein's adoption of Islamization further eroded gains made by women. In 1990, men were exempted from prosecution for "honor killings". Hussein's "Campaign for Faithfulness", supposedly against prostitution, was used to behead political opponents and doctors.

By 1998, all women working as secretaries for government agencies were dismissed; by 2000, restrictions were placed on women working outside the home; travel abroad by women became restricted, co-ed education was eliminated, and the female literacy dropped to 25%. In the nominally independent Kurdish area to the north, where the ICP and WCPI could operate openly, there was still a deterioration of women's rights, with increasing honor killings and women being driven out of workplaces and universities.

Women also suffered greatly from increasing mortality and malnutrition under the difficulties resulting from the U.S.-supported economic sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. Occupation policy of de-Ba'athification abolished the GFIW. Iraq under U.S. occupation does not appear sympathetic to feminism, as the CPA and the new government seem quite willing to continue the oppression of women to gain support from Islamist political parties. With the end of the GFIW, however, civil society has begun to regenerate--an attempt by the government to introduce the Sharia was met by demonstrations called by 25 women's organizations.

Considering the degree of organization of women in Iraq, the gains in equality made and lost, the massive involvement and then removal of women in the workforce, and the involvement of the left in women's struggles, Salucci's avoidance of women and feminism is a glaring fault with this book.

Even though this short book does not sufficiently address the politics of the Ba'ath, pan-Arab socialism, the left wing of Kurdish nationalism, the shoras, or feminism, it is still a very useful reference and introduction to a history of the left in Iraq, and is highly recommended for those who would like a brief introduction. With no sign of an end to the occupation by the U.S. in sight, developments in Iraq will continue to dominate our attention.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was very disappointed by this book. It tries to cover far too much ground in too little space. Not only is the book not a "people's history of Iraq" it is not even really a history of the Iraqi Communist Party.

This is definitely not the first book anyone should read about Iraq or the Iraqi left. The first thing to read is Tariq Ali's Bush in Babylon. Reading this book first will only confuse you. If you read Ali's work and want more, read Hannah Batatu's classic the Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements in Iraq, a 1,300 page monster filled with first hand accounts by Communists and Ba'athists, as well as tons of statistics and other empirical data.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheds light on a very overlooked aspect of Iraqi politics and social forces
A People's History Of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements, And The Left 1924-2004 is an in-depth critical analysis of the Iraqi Communist Party and its contributions to the worker's movement and the Left in Iraq. From its history of standing up to British occupiers and the installed monarchy, to its resistance to Saddam Hussein's ruthless dictatorship, to its role in helping to shape Iraq's present and future, A People's History Of Iraq sheds light on a very overlooked aspect of Iraqi politics and social forces. Highly recommended for library and individual history shelves.

4-0 out of 5 stars Overview of the ICP
Salucci's book is an excellent read for a lay person wanting an overview of the leftist movement in Iraq, and more specifically the activities and limited success of the ICP.Salucci draws heavily from Batatu's extensive work "Old Social Classes," then brings the reader to the ICP's struggles in today's Iraq.

Although Salucci is obviously sympathetic to the Communist movement, his book, perhaps because of Batatu's influence, maintains its objectivity overall.

Both Signor Salucci and his publisher Haymarket Books were very helpful while conducting research for a recent graduate paper on the topic, and Salucci's work, along with articles he has written, proved to be extremely valuable sources.

Certainly worthwhile for both the reader interested in learning about other aspects of Iraqi politics. ... Read more

12. The Surge: A Military History
by Kimberly Kagan
Hardcover: 250 Pages (2008-10-25)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594032491
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Understanding the role of combat in the Iraq war is essential for both the American people and the U.S. military. Recognizing the objectives of both sides and the plans developed to attain those objectives provides the context for understanding the war. The Surge is an effort to provide such a framework to help understand not only where we have been, but also what happens as we move forward.
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Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Kagan's Account of the Surge
Kagan's book provides a very detailed overview of the coalition's military operations in Iraq during 2007. Like many other popular, and also very solid accounts of the surge (Ricks, Robinson, Kilcullen, et al), she addresses the shortcomings of the pre-surge strategy and the failures of operations like Together Forward II. However, unlike these accounts, she dedicates less time emphasizing the role of population-centric COIN in shaping the outcome, instead focusing more on the role of kinetic operations like Phantom Thunder. Additionally, she spends significantly less time focusing on the role of Petraeus, and instead points to the critical role Odierno played.

While overall Kagan does provide a detailed account of the surge, it's important to note a few caveats. First, her husband, Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, was one of the surge's architects. Therefore, Kim Kagan is hardly an objective or dispassionate analyst. Second, although extensively footnoted, a large proportion of her citations come from military press briefings. In other words, theorganization tasked with implementing the surge is also the organization she relies on for much of her data.

5-0 out of 5 stars A scholarly and informative text
Peace in Iraq seems ever more possible as time rolls on. "The Surge: A Military History" is an operation by operation analysis of the United States actions in Iraq for past few years, in particular since the troop surge of 2006 began. Kimberly Kagan does well in presenting this military history; Kagan herself president of the Institute of the Study of War. For anyone who wants a more complete history of the current Iraq conflict, "The Surge" is a scholarly and informative text.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but can be dry
This is a military history of the "surge" in Iraq.

It is extensively researched and rich with detail. At times it slips into a dry chronicle of events and places emphasis on exposition over interpretation. There is also a strong (and successful) effort to organize the information so that it presents a bigger picture, which came at the expense of more human anecdotes. This is clearly a work by a historian, not a journalist, and so it may be of more interest to the professional rather than general reader. The information is quite current as of publication, and one senses that the publication schedule may have emphasized timeliness over more careful analysis and organization.

The author brings a special perspective to the events detailed, as a professional historian, a teacher and colleague to many of those who fought in it, an adviser to those who planned it, and as one of its more visible advocates on the American political scene. Many of the conclusions to be drawn from it are startling and at variance with the comfortable cliches of our domestic debates. The discussion on the role of Iran, and the role of Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaish-al-Mahdi, was particularly illuminating on certain aspects which have been underreported in other venues.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Very Tedious, Low-Level View Book -
The purpose of "The Surge" is to show readers that the success of the military surge in Iraq was not just due to Sadr's ordering his followers to cease-fire, the U.S. paying off former Sunni opponents to join forces, or al Qaeda's overplaying its hand through excessive violence and disrespect for Iraqi citizens. "The Surge" also plays up the role of the coalition adopting simultaneous actions (limiting al Qaeda's ability to slip away and regroup elsewhere), U.S. forces remaining within Iraqi communities (vs. withdrawing to their FOBs, leaving the locals to the mercy of the terrorists), and more effective Iraqi support. Undoubtedly that conclusion is correct, even though the only "evidence" offered was Gen. Odiorne's satement to that effect. I really wish the author had found a more interesting and expeditious way of communicating this conclusion.

Finally, not only was "The Surge" extremely dry, it also didn't begin to communicate the sacrifices and unpleasantness endured by the participating Americans.

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
This is the first comprehensive, ACCURATE description of the Iraq war, detailing everything from the surge and its consequences, general tactics, to day-to-day combat points. Highlights the pundits' statistical abuses and misrepresentations of the way the war is going. Turns out-- WE'RE WINNING! All factually backed up, you can tell Kagan knows her stuff. ... Read more

13. The Modern History of Iraq
by Phebe Marr
Paperback: 432 Pages (2011-04-26)
list price: US$44.00 -- used & new: US$39.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813344433
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Now in its third edition, The Modern History of Iraq places in historical perspective the crises and upheavals that continue to afflict the country. The book focuses on several important themes: the search for national identity in a multiethnic, multireligious state; the struggle to achieve economic development and modernity in a traditional society; and the political dynamics that have led to the current situation. Phebe Marr draws on published sources in Arabic and English, personal interviews, and frequent visits to the country to produce a remarkably lucid and readable account of the emergence of contemporary Iraq.
This edition brings readers up to date on events since the U.S. invasion and features two new chapters. Marr provides an insightful overview of the current political scene—Iraq’s new political elites; emerging figures, parties, constituencies, and support; and foreign influences. Marr also offers a uniquely penetrating analysis of Iraq’s current social and economic affairs, including the decline of the middle class, refugee displacement, the economics of oil, the status of women and ethnic groups, and the rise of sectarianism.
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Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok but worse than the competition
There are two standard histories of modern Iraq, Marr's book and Charles Tripp's A History of Iraq, which cover very similar ground.

Neither is perfect.Neither is great on the role of outside powers, particularly the United States, nor does either make sufficient use of the kind of economic and social analysis found in Hanna Batatu's classic The Old Social Classes & The Revolutionary Movement In Iraq and Samira Haj's more recent The Making of Iraq, 1900-1963: Capital, Power, and Ideology.

However, Tripp's book is, in my view, slightly but significantly better.It's more readable, has a clearer narrative flow, and tends to be more careful in its interpretative claims.For someone looking for an introduction to the modern history of Iraq, there's nothing too wrong with Marr's book, but I recommend Tripp's book instead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Analysis of Each Phase of Iraq's History
Overall, I thought that this was an outstanding book.The author does an excellent job of looking at each phase of Iraq's history, but not only providing the facts - but providing details on how and why decisions were made by Iraq's leaders and the consequences of these decisions.I think the author also does an outstanding job of discussing the events and impacts on the various regions (specifically the Shia South and the Kurdish North) within Iraq and explaining the role that international relations played in Iraq's history.Outstanding charts and data are also included in the book that are very helpful and illuminating.Overall, I highly recommend this book, my only caution is that I found the writing style a little dry, but I am very glad that I read the book.

4-0 out of 5 stars History book that reads like a novel
Modern History of Iraq, a history book, is very good read because it focuses and combines our misunderstanding of the Iraqi people, fills in our information and knowledge gap without the normal drab history textbook feel.

The book focuses on several important themes: the search for national identity in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state; the struggle to achieve economic development and modernity in a traditional society; and the political dynamics that have led to the current dire situation in Iraq.

Marr begins with a chapter discussing the various ethnic groups within Iraq.Following this she begins a historical trip from the British mandate through 2003.Each major coup, change of power, is covered extensively in it's own chapter giving the read a full understanding not only of the events but the conditions that cased change.

Dr. Phebe Marr has published several books on the Middle East, including contributing to The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Fourth Edition, edited by David Long and Bernard Reich (Westview Press 2002).Academically and politically, she has worked with the editorial board for the Middle East Journal, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (1985-1997), the Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowship and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a leading specialist on Iraq and its domestic politics and foreign policy.

Since Iraq can only dates its history as a nation to the British Mandate in 1921, "Modern History of Iraq" captures the essence of the development of a country in the 20th century. This book lays out the facts and is not the author's opinion of what should or should not have occurred, this is very important because it gives the reader the ability to form their own analysis.The only opinion that the author provides is that of the future of Iraq, in which most would agree, is "uncertain."

Marr's book is excellent and a much easier read then Iraqi history books by Tripp and Sluglett. This is a great reference book for anyone studying or deploying to Iraq.

The Modern History of Iraq

5-0 out of 5 stars The Modern History of Iraq
required reading as background historyof Iraq, Oil, Middle Eastto understand the future we need to understand the past to the best of our abilities

4-0 out of 5 stars Modern Iraq
At a time when Iraq seems more violent, unstable, and unpredictable than ever, it is vital to know how things came to be this way.Marr's History of Modern Iraq is a good place to start.

After a chapter covering the various ethnic groups insdie Iraq, Marr begins her book during the time period of the British mandate and continues through to 2003.Each major era of modern Iraq is covered in its own chapter, some of which include rule by Qasim, rule by the Arif brothers, and also the various incarnations of the Baath party.

When discussing each of these time periods, Marr discusses ethnic tensions, social and economic issues, as well as foreign policy.Each chapter serves as a mini crash course on that particular part of Iraqi history.What makes her book particularly valuable is that she is able to link what happened during the chapter in question to the overall direction that Iraq took.With so many drastic and sometimes violent transfers of power, it would be easy to assume that Iraq was in a sense starting over with each new regime.Marr demonstrates that every era was in many ways a logical progression of what came before it.

Marr states in her preface that the book is not to be an exhaustive and detailed history of modern Iraq, but that it's supposed to be a clear and readable one-volume account of the forces that shaped modern Iraq.In that goal she largely succeeds with the exception of the period following the 1990-91 Gulf War.There were many extremely important events shaping Iraq during this period that she either leaves out completely or barely mentions.Since this is the time period that leads directly into what's happening in Iraq now, the more detailed the coverage of this era, the better.Dilip Hiro's Neighbors, Not Friends, and Sarah Graham Brown's Sanctioning Saddam provide the best accounts of this time period.

Nonetheless, Marr's book is excellent and certainly more accessible than other Iraqi history books in the field.Marr's presentation and organization have produced a fantastic book that many will surely look to when attempting to understand what's happening in Iraq today. ... Read more

14. Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat Over Iraq
by Jay Stout
Paperback: 416 Pages (2006-12-26)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0891418717
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Marine Corps’ ground campaign up the Tigris and Euphrates was notable for speed and aggressiveness unparalleled in military history. Little has been written, however, of the air support that guaranteed the drive’s success. Paving the way for the rush to Baghdad was “the hammer from above”–in the form of attack helicopters, jet fighters, transport, and other support aircraft. Now a former Marine fighter pilot shares the gripping never-before-told stories of the Marines who helped bring to an end the regime of Saddam Hussein.

As Jay Stout reveals, the air war had actually been in the planning stages ever since the victory of Operation Desert Storm, twelve years earlier. But when Operation Iraqi Freedom officially commenced on March 20, 2003, the Marine Corps entered the fight with an aviation arm at its smallest since before World War II. Still, with the motto “Speed Equals Success,” the separate air and ground units acted as a team to get the job done.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with the men and women who flew the harrowing missions, Hammer from Above reveals how pilots and their machines were tested to the limits of endurance, venturing well beyond what they were trained and designed to do. Stout takes us into the cockpits, revealing what it was like to fly these intense combat operations for up to eighteen hours at a time and to face incredible volumes of fire that literally shredded aircraft in midair during battles like that over An Nasiriyah .

With its dynamic descriptions of perilous flights and bombing runs, Hammer from Above is a worthy tribute to the men and women who flew and maintained the aircraft that so inspired their brothers in arms and terrified the enemy.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Hammer from Above: Marine Air Combat Over Iraq
I purchased this book because a former student at our high school has an entire chapter written about him. Well done. It's about time someone's written about our helicopter pilots and the risks they take and the fighting they do for our country.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - Highly recommended
Former fighter pilot Stout does an excellent job with this book.Based upon his knowledge of Marine attack capabilities and his personal relationships with most of the Marine aviators mentioned in this book, Stout puts you right in the cockpit and "down-in-the-weeds" with the grunts being supported by Marine air assets.Whether the action involves Cobra attack helicopters, F/A-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers, or EA-6B Prowlers, Stout has you right in the thick of things.His interaction throughout the book between air assets and forward air controllers is excellent and provides a seldom seen insight into how these teams interact during the intense ferocity of battle.He also does an excellent job of describing the emotion that is felt by Marines when their fellow grunts are lost either in the air or on the ground.This book is a must for any individual with interest in Marine air activity during the Gulf War.Highly recommended and insightful.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like being there!!!
Mr. Stout's book HAMMER FROM ABOVE gave life the air war in Iraq.It showed what went on behind the scenes to win the offensive.It brought home what it was like for the Marines flying and those that supported them from the ground.This book was exciting from beginning to end, I read it in one day!!

5-0 out of 5 stars The real experience.
I hate to use a cliché, but for a person who has "been there" this book is as accurate and real as it gets.If you are an aviation enthusiast or just very interested in military history this book is a must in your library.This is a piece of history that is still being written right now over there in Iraq.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hammer from above- very accurate
Reading this book was like sitting in the ready room getting the debrief from my buddies who just flew the missions.The stories of the FARP's, C-130's landing in between potholes on the runway, ordnance going down range, the individuals who made the real difference, FAC perspective, etc... and the descriptive nature of which the story is told makes this book a must read.It is a very accurate description of what life was like in Iraq in the spring of 2003, highly recommended.Major Marx ... Read more

15. LIFE: The War in Iraq
by Editors of Life Magazine, editors of LIFE Magazine, editors of One Nation
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2003-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$3.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932273131
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In well-considered words and vivid pictures, the editors of LIFE create another definitive document of a critical event in American history. As they did with the best-selling ONE NATION: America Remembers September 11, 2001, which was called 'a thorough and thoughtful telling' by The Wall Street Journal, and cited as the most successful photo history of September 11 and its aftermath by many other reviewers, they now tell the story of the 2003 Iraqi war. Remarkable pictures from the Gulf, drawn from sources worldwide including Reuters and all the wire services, The New York Times and all the newspapers and news magazines (including many from Europe, providing several shots not yet seen in America), as well as those taken by today's best independent photographers who have an intimate association with LIFE, will tell the history-and be accompanied by a dramatic, authoritative timeline of events. Other chapters in LIFE's The War in Iraq will include "The World Reacts"; "The Faces of War", about people such as Jessica Lynch, the rescued POWs and the young Iraqi boy, Ali; "A Free Press: How We Saw the War"; and "Aftermath"-which looks at the fluid situation on the ground today, and the difficult road ahead for a liberated nation. LIFE's The War in Iraq, will be about the pictures, as is always the case with LIFE. And it will be the complete story.- Large collection of exclusive frontline photos - Introduction by well known journalist Walter Cronkite - Complete detailed and colourful war maps. - The book covers both the history of the country, and the war, which is the dominant coverage. - Pictures are drawn from worldwide sources and wire services, including images not seen before in the U.S. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Another picture book about the fall of Saddam.
More great pictures about the 2003 War in Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein.As in the Time book about the same campaign, there are some great pictures in this book.On the writing side, there is little meat in this book and for one to better understand this conflict, they need to read elsewhere.However the pictures are great and one will get a general idea on why the war was waged.

Some of the pictures in this book are graphic in nature.It would probably not be wise to leave this book around young children.Those pictures just prove to everybody that war is hell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to keep up with the Iraq war. ... Read more

16. The Iraq War: A Military History
by Williamson Murray, Robert H. Scales Jr.
Paperback: 312 Pages (2005-09-28)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674019687
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

In this unprecedented account of the intensive air and ground operations in Iraq, two of America's most distinguished military historians bring clarity and depth to the first major war of the new millennium. Reaching beyond the blaring headlines, embedded videophone reports, and daily Centcom briefings, Williamson Murray and Robert Scales analyze events in light of past military experiences, present battleground realities, and future expectations.

The Iraq War puts the recent conflict into context. Drawing on their extensive military expertise, the authors assess the opposing aims of the Coalition forces and the Iraqi regime and explain the day-to-day tactical and logistical decisions of infantry and air command, as British and American troops moved into Basra and Baghdad. They simultaneously step back to examine long-running debates within the U.S. Defense Department about the proper uses of military power and probe the strategic implications of those debates for America's buildup to this war. Surveying the immense changes that have occurred in America's armed forces between the Gulf conflicts of 1991 and 2003--changes in doctrine as well as weapons--this volume reveals critical meanings and lessons about the new "American way of war" as it has unfolded in Iraq.

(20031101) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

4-0 out of 5 stars Terrific book about the military campaign itself
I was very pleased to pick this book up and give it a read. I didn't follow the invasion closely when it occurred (I saw more coverage of the protests than of the war itself as I was in Australia) and I had been curious ever since.

The book is very well written, informative and the photos are terrific. It was a good read.

I do have two quibbles however. The first, that the book was published in August of 2003 (when the invasion was in March-April) gives me doubts about some of the lessons written of in the book. I just think it was too close to the invasion to really give a good retrospective. The second are the maps. While yes, I love that this book has maps, and they're reasonably easy to read, I wish they were more informative.

However, I really enjoyed this book and I think it is a good pick up for anyone interested in the invasion and also the state of the US military before and during the 2003 invasion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book that covers the conventional portion of the Iraq War
Having been finished in August, 2003, this book focuses on the conventional portion of the Iraq War starting with the invasion on March 20, 2003 and leading to the capture of Baghdad in April, 2003.It has some finishing comments on the continual concerns with the guerrila war that was just starting but only briefly gets into the challenges and issues there.

Although that can be an issue with this book, giving the impression that victory occurred prior to when it has (which may still need to be realized), there are many good things about this book.First, all the major actions of the conventional war and some interesting anecdotes are shared.For example, the importance of the air war in winning the conventional war is highlighted.Related to this an interesting fact was shared, the B-1 bomber ended up being the "workhorse of the campaign" having flown less than 2% of the sorties and dropped 50% of the JDAMs (the most valuable high precision bomb of the war).The air war was key to winning the conventional war and keeping our casualties down.

Further, there are some excellent colored pictures of the action.Since with this war, reporters where imbedded with the troops, they were able to take these pictures.

Also, the analysis on why the coalition won the conventional war is provided at the end of the book and this highlights, in a lessons learned what is necessary to win wars of this nature with minimal casualties.It is clear that the professionalism of our military had a lot to do with this vicroryWithin this lessons learned framework, the authors recognize the challenges that still needed to be faced after 2003 with the continued guerrila war.

All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about this war beyond the incriminating and biased press stories that have occurred over the past 7 years.When you finish this book, you'll recognize just how professional our military is at all levels, and why we should be proud of them and the job that they are doing in keeping us safe.

1-0 out of 5 stars This is NOT a valid military "history" of the Iraq War !
This is NOT a valid military "history" of the Iraq War. Instead, it is an exceedingly poor literary product considering the intellectual gravitas that both Murray and Scales have in the military community. Even taking in to account the minimal information that we had at the time of its publication - it is NOT a valid primer on the Iraq War - it is barely a chintzy slice of the pie. It is certainly a substandard product in comparison to the other fine works - including those that these two gentlemen are well known for.

I strongly disagree with the ridiculously glowing and misleading reviews about this book. Military history will NOT be kind to this book, however, that is the price the authors will pay for writing such a book:

for no other reason than just to be one of "the first on the block" to do so - and collect some easy money. Shame on both of them for doing so.
that claims to be a military history about a war when it barely covers some of the battles;
that fails to take notice of its own intelligence facts, which should have led competent senior warriors to further explore if not realize the undeniable fact that a powerful insurgency was developing;
that pawns off pitiful, non-critical analyses of lessons learned and future implications;
that ends up sounding like an obsequious, second-rate, upbeat movie trailer for a WW2 John Wayne movie - where all the Indians are vanquished and all the mighty Americans live happily ever after.

For all the façade of their intellectual gravitas (now seriously in question), these two authors were NOT up to the task of capturing the essence of current military history - a military history in progress. Shame on both Murray and Scales for pawning such military myopia upon a trusting public.

So if you are looking for real military insight DON'T LOOK HERE ! For Murray and Scales could easily leave the unsuspecting with the grave misperception that the Iraq War ended in May of 2003 with President Bush claiming "Mission Accomplished" on board an aircraft carrier.Hopefully, this misadventure has taught these two military authors what some of our US generals 'should' know by now -that "Hubris is always greatest with the high and mighty."

{ BTW - Pericles, Chang Yu, Flavius Josephus, Thucydides, Tacitus, and Clausewitz would all be deeply offended that their quotes were used to buttress the credibility of this farcical product.}

4-0 out of 5 stars Good primer
Nicely written intro to the Iraq War, brief but with enough detail to allow readers to begin to understand the "war" phase, prior to the "insurgency" phase.Could have used a few more maps.Good photos too.Very little, however, about strategy, esp. that coming from the White House and higher ups.Isn't that part of war too?

3-0 out of 5 stars Falling Short of its Target
In their book "The Iraq War: A Military History," Murray and Scales demonstrate their expertise in the study and writing of military history and analysis. However, this book is not necessarily a history of the Iraq War as much as it is about the re-making of the American military machine. In any case, their research, as well as their writing, is sound and candid and makes for interesting reading.

While the authors do focus on military history, they fail in adequately explaining the Iraq War. However, the authors do give readers some good historical background on Iraq and the Middle East in general. They begin by writing on the troubled history of Iraq and the Middle East, including Iraq's independence in 1932, Saddam Hussein's rise to power in 1979, and the rain of terror against his own citizens. The authors take a brief look at the 1980 "Iran-Iraq War, Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait that resulted in the "Gulf War", "Operation Enduring Freedom", and the rise and ultimate fall of the "Taliban".

Murray and Scales' primary focus is on the US military, its deficiencies, and its growth and development into a modern, unified force. They conclude that this growth was a byproduct of lessons learned during and after the "Vietnam War". They also discuss improvements in professionalism in the US all-volunteer military that reduced jealousies and uncooperativeness among the various military branches. The authors describe the military build-up, not only in means of manpower but in the military's arsenal, including the famed F-15 and F-16 fighters, sidewinder missiles, aircraft carriers, Abrams tank, and most importantly, in computer and other technologies, which in some cases, allow missiles to strike any enemy target with pinpoint accuracy, from a safe distance.

The "Iraq War" covers the great importance of/and improvements in "interservice" communication. That is, the communication between and within the different armed services of the United States (Army, Navy, Air force, Marines, and Special Forces). Murray and Scales give readers a close look at coalition forces, with emphasis on the British and US military relationship and cooperation.

Then the reader is taken on a military trek across the desert, while demonstrating the perils faced by coalition soldiers in unfamiliar territory and a hostile climate. They describe how once soldiers made their way into Afghanistan they were confronted by a maze of buildings where they faced a new kind of enemy and battlefield known as "urban warfare" where

"light infantry, mechanized infantry, armor, and artillery should all train more regularly together in tactical scenarios that test the adaptability and flexibility of commanders as well as troops [and where] in the future the U.S. military needs more precision in weapons designed for the close fight, and these weapons must be made available to every maneuver unit on the battlefield".

By this, the authors are suggesting that the hardest fought battles in modern warfare will be those that take place in unfamiliar inner-city terrain. Such is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan where this type of fighting takes place on the unfamiliar streets and buildings in "Basta" and "Baghdad". Murray and Scales point out that "Technology is a tool . . . only training can enable the soldier or marine to use the tools of war effectively".

"The Iraq War: A Military History" is well researched, written, and presented, but unfortunately the authors missed the point of their book; I learned little more about the Iraq War than I already knew. However, they did a noteworthy job in bringing to the forefront the transformation of the American military machine-a lesson not lost. ... Read more

17. Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq
by Eric Davis
Paperback: 397 Pages (2005-02-28)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520235460
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Despite being securely entrenched in power and having suppressed all political opposition, the Ba'thist regime that ruled Iraq from 1968 to 2003 still felt the need to engage in a massive rewriting of the nation's history and cultural heritage--in both its high and popular forms. As this book makes clear, the regime's effort to restructure understandings of the past was an attempt to expunge a powerful tendency in the Iraqi nationalist movement that advocated cultural pluralism, political participation, and social justice. Based on interviews with Iraqi intellectuals under the regime of Saddam Husayn, and with Iraqi expatriates and on publications from Iraq both before and during Ba'thist rule, Memories of State is an eye-opening look at one of the most important and misunderstood countries in the Middle East. This timely study also asks what the possibilities are for promoting civil society and a transition to democratic rule in post-Ba'thist Iraq. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Memories of State
In a publishing atmosphere saturated by instant Iraq experts, Rutgers University political scientist Davis presents a rare work of careful scholarship. Memories of State examines the intellectual tyranny of the Baath in Iraq, tracing its efforts to undue the cultural pluralism which once characterized Iraqi society.
Davis begins by describing how Ottoman reform, Iranian constitutionalism, and nascent Arab nationalism combined to shape an Iraqi intelligentsia. With time--and especially after independence--the Arab nationalist trend gained strength. Intellectual Iraq was not homogenous, though. While Shi'ite intellectual life was vibrant, it oriented itself more around the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala and toward Iran than to the nascent state.
While it would be an exaggeration to call Iraqi political culture tolerant, its early years were marked by cultural pluralism. Not only Muslims but also Jews and Christians participated in state and society. This political culture began to fracture in the 1930s. By allying themselves with the military, which they saw as a force to impose reform, Iraqi progressives opened a Pandora's box of coups and instability. Pan-Arabists gained strength in the years prior to World War II, and cultural pluralism deteriorated. Nazi propaganda permeated society. The Jewish community never recovered after the 1940 farhud (pogrom) in Baghdad.
While minority communities became detached from the Iraqi mainstream, there was still dynamic political debate. Davis traces the development of the war of ideas between Arab nationalists and communists. Using a wide variety of Arabic sources drawn from field research in Iraqi archives and libraries, Davis traces the newspapers and books that influenced society and politics. He reaches into the roots of intellectual life at the time, even detailing specific coffeehouses where writers would discuss and debate their ideas.
While the 1958 revolution sparked political and civic activity, the 1968 Baathist coup curtailed it. The intellectual chill was not instantaneous, though. Davis examines how the Baathist regime moved to co-opt Iraq's intelligentsia and brainwash its youth. He surveys books, newspapers, literary journals, and even graphic art to show how the Iraqi regime sought to promote Sunni Arab nationalism. A wide array of photographs of everything from models at Iraqi fashion shows to Saddam's monumental architecture help illustrate Davis' arguments.
The chapter on "Memories of State and the Arts of Resistance," is particularly strong. In it, Davis details the subtle academic censorship exerted by the Ministry of Culture. Baathist bureaucrats okayed the publication of lackluster theses on esoteric topics but refused to print award-winning anthropological studies of Iraqi tribes, for these latter acknowledged a diversity that the Baath party did not wish to recognize. Iraq's once rich poetic tradition narrowed into a celebration of Arab nationalism. The survey of Iraqi newspaper content in the 1990s shows how stilted Iraq's once rich discourse had become.
While Memories of State will be of lasting value to academics and historians wishing to understand the evolution and deterioration of Iraq's intelligentsia, its dense academic prose undercuts its utility. Readers are saddled with long asides about contrasting theories of "historical memory," "Gramscian notions of hegemony," and other examples of unnecessary obfuscation.

Michael Rubin
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2007 ... Read more

18. Conflicts in Iraq And Afghanistan (Wars That Changed American History)
by Robin S. Doak
Paperback: 48 Pages (2006-07-30)
list price: US$14.05 -- used & new: US$13.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 083687305X
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19. The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions
Paperback: 736 Pages (2003-05-06)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$12.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743253477
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Despite the torrent of coverage devoted to war with Iraq, woefully little attention has been paid to the history of the region, the policies that led to the conflict, and the daunting challenges that will confront America and the Middle East once the immediate crisis has ended. In this collection, Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, coeditors of the acclaimed Gulf War Reader, have assembled essays and documents that present an eminently readable, up-to-the-moment guide -- from every imaginable perspective -- to the continuing crisis in the Gulf and Middle East.

Here, in analysis and commentary from some of the world's leading writers and opinion makers -- and in the words of the key participants themselves -- is the engrossing saga of how oil economics, power politics, dreams of empire, nationalist yearnings, and religious fanaticism -- not to mention naked aggression, betrayal, and tragic miscalculation -- have conspired to bring us to the fateful collision of the West and the Arab world over Iraq. Contributors include:

Fouad Ajami
George W. Bush
Richard Butler
John le Carré
Noam Chomsky
Ann Coulter
Thomas Friedman
Al Gore
Seymour Hersh
Christopher Hitchens

Arianna Huffington
Saddam Hussein
Terry Jones
Robert Kagan
Charles Krauthammer
William Kristol
Nicholas Lemann
Kanan Makiya
Kevin Phillips
Kenneth Pollack

Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice
Arundhati Roy
Edward Said
William Safire
Jonathan Schell
Susan Sontag
George WillAmazon.com Review
From the editors of the 1991 anthology The Gulf War Reader comes a comprehensive guide "to the most urgent foreign policy questions of our time." Culled from a wide variety of sources, these essays, commentaries, and official documents cover the entire scope of the conflict with particular attention paid to the history and policies that led to the war. Divided into four sections and stretching from 1915 to the eve of war in 2003, the book offers viewpoints by pundits, politicians, professors, and journalists from every conceivable perspective and political persuasion, including many who participated directly in the events. Part One, "Sins of the Fathers," deals with the modern history of the Middle East, beginning with the end of World War I and the betrayal by the Allies that led to the carving up of the region and to many current problems. It also explains how and why the United States developed a working relationship with Saddam Hussein in the first place. Part Two, "Aftermaths of the Gulf War," covers the years 1991 through 2001 and focuses on the breakdown of the inspections, the effects of the sanctions, and Hussein's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Part Three, "War With Iraq," covers the debate (mainly from a domestic perspective) over whether to attack Iraq, and if so, whether to act unilaterally or multilaterally. Part Four, "Through a Glass Darkly," offers various looks into the future, including what sort of society and government will take the place of Hussein's regime and what role the United States now plays in the world. Impressive in its breadth and depth, this is an excellent one-volume compendium on a complicated and important subject. Even those who kept current on these events as they unfolded will find much to learn in these pages. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars History of the Middle East Complex
If you enjoyed this book in order to gain a braoder persective on the war in Iraq I would recommend Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex and the Media by well known author Kelly Oliver.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful look at many sides of the Iraq debate
I've purchased and read many books on Iraq since it's what I'm studying at grad school right now, and this book is among the best I've read.There are so many different points of view offered here ranging from Noam Chomsky, Ann Coulter, and everyone in between.Even though Coulter's horribly titled (and written) article "Why we hate them" is a testament to how horrible a person she is, it's good to know all sides of the debate.

As the title suggests, in this book you'll find opinion pieces, articles from government officials, and government documents.The editors do a wonderful job at compiling a vast amount of relevant information.This is a good place to start if you'd like to familiarize yourself with the conflict, but most pieces are short and do not provide in-depth analysis of the topic.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions [DOWNLOAD:
This ebook was a complete waste of money.I was unable to print the pages.The publisher does not allow you to print the book you just purchased.I want my money back.I am very unhappy.The only reason I bought the ebook was to print the pages so that I could take notes on them.I'm a student.This is a complete rippoff

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Balanced
This book was an excellent read.Both sides of the current Iraq War issue are well represented, with excellent footnotes for factual claims.Easy to differentiate between opinion and information.Each piece is from 2 to 8 pages.If you are willing to hear both sides of the story, this book is for you.But beware, I believe that the vast majority who read this with an open mind will develop serious doubts about what America is doing.For those who started out with doubts, this will give you some well-referenced factual support for your doubts.Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Reviews the Iraq Situation from All Angles
I was impressed by how well this book is balanced.Although the editorial comments are on the whole skewed to the left, there is very little editorializing in the book.Many of the articles are historical documents, speeches or other matters of public record, while most are opinion pieces excerpted from books or periodicals.The reader is left to himself to make a decision on the politics of the situation.Regardless of your politics, nobody will be able to read this book without better grasping the complexity of the Iraq situation. ... Read more

20. Wheels On Fire: My Year of Driving (And Surviving) in Iraq
by Michelle Zaremba, Christine Sima
Paperback: 224 Pages (2008-10-15)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1555716563
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From 2004-2005, Staff Sergeant Michelle Zaremba led supply convoys through the streets of Baghdad. A woman in combat, truck driver, Purple Heart recipient, leader of men: roles she never thought she'd be living when she joined the National Guard at age 17 looking for direction.

For more than a year, Michelle saw the Iraq War firsthand, experiencing the terror, the camaraderie and the frustration of being so far away from home for so long.

Funny and poignant, Wheels On Fire is one woman's personal experience of the war in Iraq -- bad food, incompetent leadership, camel spiders and all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for those who want to know what it's like in America's current conflict
Driving in New York traffic may be stressful, but at least it's not a warzone. "Wheels on Fire: My Year of Driving . . . and Surviving . . . in Iraq" is the story of author Michelle Zaremba, who was charged with leading supply envoys through Iraq. Speaking as a female soldier, she gives a rarely-heard perspective on the war, and doesn't let the seriousness of the situation drag her down. "Wheels on Fire" is a must-read for those who want to know what it's like in America's current conflict.

5-0 out of 5 stars This was a great book.
I bought this book because I am the mother of a Soldier currently deployed and wanted to read about it from a Soldier's perspective.I really enjoyed her book and would like to thank her for providing this journal of her experiences in Iraq and also thank Michelle for her bravery and honor serving our country.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not 'Rumors of War'
This book is not 'Rumors of War'. It is not 'We Were Soldiers Once', nor is it 'All Quiet on the Western Front'

The story is the first person account of a National Guard solider during OIF II told in emails and personal recollections. To be honest, are some poignant moments. Her operations during the `Easter Offensive' did get my attention, her experience attending the funeral of a solider during her leave was truly moving,and her struggle with PTSD was insightful.

By March, she realized that OIF was not about Civil rights for the Iraqis. Good for her.

The remaining 195 pages came across trite and contrived. At times it amounted to little more than a bitch session. Its unfortunate she didn't get new uniforms at her mob site. Its too bad she couldn't shower every day. Its really sad there is no shopping mall in the desert. Army chow sucks. War is hell. Suck it up, cupcake.

This is not Zarembas fault. She did have a story to tell and it could have been done well, but Christine Sima and Hellgate Press let her down. At times it was a truly painful read.

First they fell short on the necessary background research. The fact that SAPI (not `sappy') plates were `Small Arms Protective Inserts' was lost on them. A `Haji' is a Muslim who has been to Mecca, and its use by Americans was a politically correct version of `dune coon'. The whole concept of the military command and social structure is totally ignored (who are `they' anyway?)

The editing of the text was also sloppy. Some people were completely introduced several times, while others appeared out of nowhere. At one point,KBR and "Kellogg Brown & Root" are talked about like they are two different company's.Many of the emails could have easily been edited without loss, and I really never had `turn-key' before...maybe its an Arabic dish.

In the end this book does represent a valid source document in the historical record. It is her story, from her viewpoint, colored by her own personality and prejudices. While I would give in high marks as a candid commentary on OIF, the editing, the prose and the poor research really take away from it

5-0 out of 5 stars Wheels on Fire
What a great book!!!It is action-packed from start to finish, illuminating the scope of emotions that drive the decision-making throughout.Once I started reading Wheels on Fire, it stayed on my kitchen table and I read it almost every day until finishing it minutes ago.My wife (a confirmed non-book-reader) is halfway through it.Being a veteran myself, I related to the situations that Michelle and her unit went through.The material was all presented in such a true to life style that I could clearly visualize all of the actual places and events that were described.
I very much look forward to more books by this author, Christine Sima.Do you have a list of any other book that she has written?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
As a mother of an Iraqi vet, this book has helped me understand what my son went through in his deployment.A lot of what Zaremba shared mirrored my son's experience.In this book you laugh, you cry, you see the good and bad of what is happening during a soldier's deployment.This has really helped to open the lines of communication with my son about the war.Thank you for your service. ... Read more

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