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Comment: Faint impression of erased pencil on corner of endpaper, otherwise clean & unmarked. Binding tight. Cover rubbed at corners & edges. The clear coating of the paperback is torn & peeling away in several areas.
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The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict Paperback – December 21, 1990

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0586090381 ISBN-10: 0415904072 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews of the British edition:
Hiro's work, clearly written and balanced, illustrated with photographs that portray the war in all its horror, is the best book on the subject so far. -- Patrick Seale, The Observer
Outstandingly objective . . . an object lesson in how an acocmplished journalist can and should reconstruct events of world-wide importance. -- Justin Wintle, The Independent
Authoritative . . . Hiro's exacting, analytical approach is especially appropriate for a war which has never been quite what it seems. -- Amanda Mitchison, New Statesman and Society
Pakistani journalist Dilip Hiro takes us well beyond images of Khomeini dart boards and Saddam voodoo dolls to reveal calculating interest groups whom the West might have manipulated more skillfully . . . . captures the human motivations behind the war. -- Los Angeles Times
. . . with his maps and photographs, his chronology and documentary appendixes, he succeeds in chronicling with powerful detail what, to contemporary eyes, is that conflict's cruel and utter futility. -- Lisa Anderson, New York Times Book Review
. . . masterfully analyzes the war and its political consequences . . . . Foresighted throughout, this is one of the best books on the longest war of the 20th century. -- Joseph Kechichian, Library Journal
A balanced analysis that fills a gap on most shelves. -- Gil Taylor, Booklist
This outstanding book, must reading for anyone wishing to understand the background of Saddam Hussein's ill-fated seizure of Kuwait, helps to clarify the often bewildering and contradictory political signals coming out of Iran over the last decade. -- Choice

About the Author

Dilip Hiro is a writer and journalist living in London. He is the author of Holy Wars: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism (Routledge, 1989) and Iran Under the Ayatollahs (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987) among others.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (December 21, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415904072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586090381
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy H. Burton on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Longest War" by Dilip Hiro provides a thorough political history of the Iran-Iraq conflict. Those with little to moderate exposure to the war will probably find it interesting, while more knowledgeable students of the era will most likely gain little insight, as it is largely based on press clippings.

Readers of other military histories will be disappointed to find a lack of primary evidence into motives; however, it is important remember that such evidence was not available at the time of publication, as it is with, for example, a history of World War II.

One interesting factor about this book is that it was (apparently) written prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991. This has positive and negative effects. For instance:

(1) Hiro does not have the benefit of being able to use future events to improve his analysis. For example, given the later invasion of Kuwait, Sadaam Hussein's invasion of Iran seems much more like a megalomaniac stab at natural resources (and their commensurate power) than the establishment of a bulwark against Shi'ite Islamism.

(2) Hiro's analysis does not suffer from bias created by later events. For example, American support of the Iraqi regime in the latter stages of the war is presented in the context of (a) Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, (b) protecting American interests in the gulf states from Iranian interference and (c) the political climate in America following the Iran-Contra affair. Today, it is common to see such support described as misguided or even hypocritical, given what happened in 1990-1 and in 2003. Hiro lays out reasons for American support to Iraq that were indeed very rational given what was known to American policymakers at the time.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
Lasting eight years, and at a cost of over a trillion
dollars and a million casualties, this savage
conflict (which featured chemical weapons and genocide
against the Kurds), largely unknown to most
Westerners, is far from over.

Hiro, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, traces
the ancient animosities and territorial
aspirations which animated the slaughter, describes
in detail the actual fighting, and connects the
war to the Great Powers which covertly aided the

Finally, in his Epilogue, he notes the "no war, no
peace" status of the region and warns of an
arms-race between Iran and Iraq, which bodes ill for
the stability of an area which contains most of the world's
crude oil reserves.

(The numerical rating above is a default setting
within Amazon's format. This reviewer does not
employ numerical ratings.)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gerry Fahrenthold on December 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
A thorough review of the religious and geopolitical, but not militry, history of the Iran Iraq war. The author provides little critical analysis in what is an almost textbook like format. There is extensive coverage of the political issues and of the internal battles fought by both of the combatants, especially Iraq, to maintain internal public support. When one reads how well Hussien managed the internal political challenges of the Iran Iraq war, his survival of the Gulf War seems less of a surprise. The economic issues of waging the war, an issue often left out of military history, is well documented. There is good analysis of the involvement of the superpowers and the legal and illegal sale of arms to both sides. There is only very minimal coverage of military strategy, tactics, and weapons and only a cursory description of the campaigns.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Now that the U. S. led coalition has invaded Iraq and removed Saddam Hussein from power, the current fashion is to demonize him as much as possible. However, there was a time when the United States was strongly allied with Iraq when it was at war with Iran. The Iraqi invasion of Iran was launched by Saddam Hussein at a time when Iran appeared weak. His goal was to achieve a quick victory and gain control over the Shatt al Arab waterway and perhaps even some of the Iranian oilfields. Therefore, there was no doubt that Iraq was the aggressor.

However, this was a serious miscalculation on the part of Hussein, Iran did not fold and was able to counterattack and even occupy significant segments of Iraq. Once it appeared that Iran was militarily gaining the upper hand the United States weighed in heavily on the side of Iraq, even launching military attacks against Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. In fact, it can be strongly argued that American support kept Iraq from being defeated. All throughout the war, U. S. spy satellites provided regular intelligence on Iranian troop movements, enabling the Iraqi forces to anticipate their attacks. The second reason why Iraq was able to fend off the Iranians is due to their extensive use of several types of poison gas in combat. Therefore, as is explained very well in this book, the United States was allied with a nation that launched an aggressive war against another nation and used poison gas, an explicit violation of several major international treaties. However, because an Iranian victory was considered contrary to U. S. interests, these actions were met with implicit approval.

The Iran-Iraq war was the longest declared war of the twentieth century, lasting eight years and ending right where it started.
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