Understanding Iraq by William R. Polk
The Whole Sweep of Iraqi History from Genghis Khan's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation

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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.


About William R. Polk

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William R. Polk taught Middle Eastern history and politics and Arabic at Harvard until 1961, when he became a member of the Policy Planning Council of the U.S. Department of State. In 1965, he became Professor of History at the University of Chicago, where he established the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His many books include The Birth of America and Understanding Iraq.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 240 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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One thing is certain, he says: “Over its long history, the one group that has seldom ‘owned Iraq’ was its people.” That is in part because Iraq has throughout that long history been ruled by outsiders, whether Persians or Mongols or Ottomans—or, more recently, Britain and the United States, both ...

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BC Books

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This is a short (220pp), pithy, beautifully written account of Iraq and the Iraqis from earliest times to today, written by an American whose Middle East academic credentials are impressive and who was also actively involved with US Middle East policy under the Kennedy administration.

May 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Understanding Iraq: The Whole...

USA Today

A concise history of Iraq by Kennedy-era diplomat and former Harvard and University of Chicago history professor William Polk is like one of those wonderfully detailed model ships that boys labor over for hours then destroy in the backyard with firecrackers.A digestible history of this tortured l...

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