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Saddam: His Rise and Fall Paperback – October 18, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060505435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060505431
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Writing a biography of Saddam Hussein is like trying to assemble the prosecution case against a notorious criminal gangster. Most of the key witnesses have either been murdered, or are too afraid to talk," notes Coughlin. Despite these formidable obstacles, the London Daily Telegraph correspondent has assembled a timely, detailed portrait of the Iraqi dictator-though not one that fully supports the subtitle's implied link to al-Qaeda. Relying on both primary and secondary sources, as well as interviews with Iraqis living in exile, Coughlin examines how Saddam latched onto a pan-Arab ideology and developed a ruthlessness that allowed him to rise to the top of the Iraqi leadership in 1980. As Saddam became embroiled in the lengthy Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s, and then the 1991 Gulf War, Coughlin shows how the leader used violence to keep himself in power. While emphasizing the brutality of Saddam's regime, Coughlin also explains that the Iraqi strongman developed widespread support through a combination of social programs and cult of personality, and that support so far has survived the poverty and chaos of the past decade. Coughlin provides new details of Saddam's cruel behavior and of internal purges, as well as of the U.S. role, or lack thereof, in attempted coups-though he takes no position on a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq. Still, as a new military action looms, readers looking for a biography of Iraq's strongman will need to look no further.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Described by the publicist as up-to-the-minute-though next week's news could change all that.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

What I think is most important to mention is that this book contains a great bibliography.
Michael Greco
Coughlin does an excellent job in presenting the psychological and cultural background that produced Saddam.
Chris Luallen
I recommend this book to those who are interested in this kind of reading, it's a real eye opener.
Donny McCarthy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting, timely, informative, helpful work, Like much of the life of Iraq's leader, the exact date and year of Saddam Hussein's birth is arguably unknown. Not surprisingly, a lot of what is known about him is equally vague, subject to revision or argument. Yet the story is worth telling and well worth reading. There is much to be learned. Coughlin cites ancient conflicts, e.g., Persian versus Arabic differences, and shows how Western addiction to and Arab control over oil created the rise of the region as strategic resource. Before that time, there was not much of interest in the region, other than to colonial powers.

Given the reticence of those most knowledgeable of Hussein to speak freely (if they care to live), the absence of good records, and the flattering propaganda produced by his government, writing this book must have been difficult. Few sources on Saddam can be judged to be authoritative. There are very strong biases on each side. The author attempts to introduce and judge competing, even equally unreliable reports of the same event. He does not engage in excessive speculation.

Hussein rose from a feudal, tribal society, where progress, loyalty and consolidating tribal power led to what we'd call inbreeding if not incest, with the marriage of close relatives and sometimes questionable paternity (including Saddam's). He is often labeled a thug; he is ruthless, unforgiving, not well educated early in his life, and sensitive to social class envy. He is a staunch anti-communist who allied himself with the Russians and murdered communist party officers while openly admiring Stalin and running a totalitarian dictatorship. He takes offense easily; he applies punishment quickly.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Iiro Nordling on January 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Con Coughlin's book on Saddam is written because the author clearly has something to say about his subject. He doesn't fall into typical trap of citing the most horrific stories told by the natural iraqi storytellers. Still he sees the specific aspects of Iraq, unlike some who equate Saddam with other tyrants of the world in the mood "parallel lives of Saddam and Hitler".
Coughlin's strenght is Saddam's Iraq, which he masters well. As I have lived in Iraq for ten years (1980-1990) I feel I can regognize that. Many who write on Iraq tend to see that Saddam rules purely with the help of satan - like the US cold war propaganda explained the success of communism.
It can not be denied that Saddam's regime is very ruthless. Still it has given something to common iraqis. Coughlin notes the role of nationalizing Iraq's oil in 1972, which made iraqis to accept bath's rule and purge of communist and other elements in the first place.
Coughlin places Saddam well within the clan system of Iraq. Saddam's rule is based on his family and clans attached to it. Coughlin doesn't deal much with islam, which also plays a role. Reason for this may be his lack of capacity. For example he talks in one place about seven pillars of islam (should be five)-in this he may mix with Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Anyway Coughlin makes a very good picture of Iraq's president. Compared to the unbalanced books from beginning of the 1990's, Coughlin has come a long way. I Expect that this book will last the test of time, unlike books rated by some commentators few years back as standard books on Saddam.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By brian komyathy VINE VOICE on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"[I]mmediately after the 1968 revolution he [Saddam] had been regarded by many Baathists as the 'weakest link' in the party." Funny, that's just what the Bolsheviks said about Stalin while Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, et al. consolidated power in the Soviet Union. Over the next 5 years Saddam spent his time, in his words, "dealing with the jackals." Like Stalin, he was mightily successful too; for during this period "he had eradicated all his main rivals, be they friend or foe, and had nuetralized the factions hostile to the Baath government, such as the Kurds and the Shiites." This catapulted him into position as the most powerful man in Iraq below President Bakr, having just engineered Iraq's nationalization of foreign oil interests in the country; a gambit made possible by Valery Giscard d'Estaing (then French trade minister, later to become French president) who assured Saddam that France would not join in a threatened Western governmental boycott of future Iraqi oil exports, IF FRENCH INTERESTS WERE NOT HARMED. 3 years later France agrees to sell Iraq a nuclear reactor. Said Saddam publicly at the time: "The agreement with France is the first concrete step toward production of the Arab atomic bomb." Concurrently, at this time Saddam buys Iran off from their support of Kurdish resistance efforts by acknowledging Iran's rights over the Shatt al-Arab waterway separating their two countries. 5 years later, upon the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Saddam renounces this agreement (now that the Kurds have been pacified) and invades Iran on september 22, 1980. Iran, in an initial response, fails in an attempt to bomb Iraq's al Tuwaitha---not yet active---nuclear site; the same site Israel, in june of 1981, successfully hits just days before it was scheduled to go Hot.Read more ›
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