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The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions Paperback – May 6, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.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

From Publishers Weekly

Those looking for some perspective on the war with Iraq need look no further than this substantial anthology-every perspective is here, from right to left, from pro-war to anti, from Ann Coulter to Barbara Ehrenreich and from William Safire to Jonathan Schell. Contributions are organized chronologically, beginning with a section on "roots of the conflict, 1915-1989." This is followed by sections focusing on the Gulf War, the UNSCOM inspections, the impact of September 11, the debate in Congress and the U.N., and final sections on Iraq's future and that of "pax Americana." A useful appendix spells out who's who in the Iraqi opposition. A deeper look at pre-Gulf War events would have been welcome, as would a sharper look at the brutality of Saddam's regime, but overall, Sifry and Cerf, who previously edited The Gulf War Reader, have done a find job of gathering illuminating takes on this controversial war.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (May 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743253477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743253475
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "tinafusc" on April 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I just bought a copy of the "Iraq War Reader," edited by Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf, and I must say, I found it fascinating and very revealing. The articles in this anthology cover past, present and even future issues plaguing Iraq and the Middle East. What an education the reader receives! With all the media attention the Iraq war has generated, I was shocked (and awed...) at how little I knew about the history and problems of the region. I could not put this book down!
Of particular relevance and interest were the articles by Tim Judah, who gives a compelling on the scene account of the struggles the Kurds have endured (he was reporting from Kurdistan) and Frank Smyth, who predicts the Shi'ite demand for power. There are also articles by Al Gore, Christopher Hitchens, Nicholas Lemann and even John lé Carre. The endless list of world-class contributors is amazing!
This book is not only for those interested in gaining a better understanding of the Middle East conflict, but also for anyone who enjoys reading extremely articulate pieces by some of the world's most well-known opinion makers and authors. I've passed the book on to a friend and can't wait to discuss and argue its contents.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
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!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lee L. on October 24, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "tim28330" on May 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book provides an interesting and insightful look at Iraq and The Middle East situation. I was especially impressed with the list of contributors, the exceptional writing and the different perspectives presented. A must read, once you start, you can't put this book down.
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