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A History of Iraq Paperback – May 27, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0521529006 ISBN-10: 052152900X Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tripp offers a lucid, digestible overview of contemporary Iraq's byzantine political power structure. Placing the evolution of the modern Iraqi state firmly into historical context, the author analyzes the roots of Islamic law, the negative effects of British imperialism, the controversial Haahemite monarchy, the fledgling republic, and, finally, the emergence of the militant Ba'th Party and the subsequent dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Also included are cogent examinations of social, cultural, and economic traditions that have contributed to the development of regionally aggressive and rabidly anti-Western policies. This insightful investigation of an often bewildering Middle Eastern nation should be considered for purchase by all public libraries interested in building a comprehensive collection of national histories of the region. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Tripp offers a very readable account that presents the many different political figures, the ebb and flow of central government relations with Kurds and Shi'ites, and the ongoing regional and international coverage." Foreign Affairs

"...a well-written and well-researched overview of Iraq's history...the book's perspective and interpretation are new and interesting...the volume in hand not only provides firstrate material for exploring Iraq's past and its future, but also a plausible account of how the state got where it is." The Middle East Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (May 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052152900X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521529006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By I. Tremayne on September 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
The previous review is grossly unfair. The book is supposed to be a concise history, not an exhaustive analysis of every single issue and event in Iraq. There is an excellent list of suggested sources should the reader wish to engage in further research on any topic. The book is erudite and well-written. It does not assume that the reader has an extensive knowledge of the Middle East. Two friends borrowed this book for coursework and I had a hard time getting it back, actually.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a number of works that address the history of Iraq as this ought to inform American policy there: Toby Dodge's Inventing Iraq and Liam Anderson's and Gareth Stansfield's The Future of Iraq and Christopher Catherwood's Churchill's Folly come to mind. This is another in this excellent set of works.

Tripp traces Iraqi history--and its implications--from its status as three provinces in the Ottoman Empire (Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul), the British Mandate (covered so well by Catherwood's book), the early and later Hashemite Monarchy, the very brief "republic" (which term needs to be placed in italics) from 1958-1968, and the Ba'th rule (including Saddam Husain's dictatorship).

The details in this historical analysis provide extremely useful context for understanding the country called Iraq; it also helps inform us as to the challenges of creating a unified country that can produce a sense of "nationhood."

All in all, a good volume for those who want to understand the background to where we currently stand. . . .
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Walrath on December 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
A must read for any who would make or influence U.S. policy in Iraq. I began reading the first printing of this book while awaiting transportation into Iraq and finished while in-country. The author's readable history of the faux nation called Iraq is essential in helping to create perspective for the new Iraq scholar or for those who believe they already know it all. The reader will most likely encounter a feeling of dejavu while exploring the British occupation post-WWI. The prominent historical role of tribal shieks and secondarily, religous leaders may surprise Westerners more familiar with elected political power, but understanding who the "real" players are in the Iraqi drama helps one to understand many of the factors that have led to the current U.S. administration's difficulties in bringing western democracy to a people who have neither experienced democracy in the past, nor who exhibit a passionate desire to embrace it for themselves. There are several rather dry sections in the work, but it is worth wading through them to get to the essence of Iraq's history.
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43 of 56 people found the following review helpful By "greenelephant88" on June 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Overall, I would characterize Charles Tripp's book as a chronological monologue that tells the story of what happened, starting from the beginning and going along in chronological order with meticulous attention paid to dates, and names of political figures. Reading this book often became a monotonous affair, as the author explained the names and dates of yet another coup d'état or of yet another rebellion in Kurdistan, each coup and ethnic rebellion not significantly different from the one before it. In terms of clarity of presentation that this book achieves, I would say that while it is very good at describing what happened, it is much less clear at explaining why things happened. It often presupposes that the reader possesses background knowledge of Middle Eastern politics or of other disciplines. For example, the book talks extensively about the war between Iraq and Iran, but fails to explain the nature of the Iranian revolution, and how such a revolution would affect the Shi`a in Iraq. The book talks about the Gulf War, but does not explain that the reason for US intervention was largely economic. Perhaps these questions do not pertain directly to Iraq, but I think that providing some background information about other countries' interests and situations (when these countries came in contact with Iraq) is necessary in order to understand what was going on. Another thing I found frustrating is that the book did not explain what the real difference between Sunnis and Shi'a is about, and why the Sunnis have always been in control of the Iraqi state, even during Ottoman times. Another issue that I found particularly bothersome is the lack of emphasis in the book on explaining why Great Britain chose to define the borders of Iraq to be the way they ended up being.Read more ›
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "glif" on March 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
Not shallow, not too deep. A very good short history.
As the topic is vast, this is a excelent book for a person looking for a solid framework of facts. Almost every part of it could be written in length, but this is not the point of a concise one-volume history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Graymac on January 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
A solid history of modern Iraq. Good background for specialists and non-specialists alike.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Max Delmore on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a college student that knew nothing about Iraq before I read this. Soon after getting through Charles Tripp's text, Iraq immediatelly became clear and approachable and I now find it a much easier country to follow. Anyone who wants to obtain an immediate foundation on Iraq mustn't look any further than Charles Tripp's A History of Iraq. Take a week out of your life to read this thing and you will be much better for it. Also, Peter Sluglett's books are solid too.
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