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IRAQ: A History
Bibliophile price: £6.50
Lost in the daily reports of warfare is any objective information about the daily lives of Iraqis, their ethnic diversity, their rich cultural heritage, and their incredibly ancient history stretching back 5,000 years to Mesopotamia, the cradle of world civilization from the seminal advances of its Neolithic inhabitants, the book looks at achievements, brutality and magnificence of its ancient empires. The contributors, all specialists in Middle Eastern studies and affiliated with a variety of well-respected universities (Villanova University, University of Chicago, Dartmouth, University of Paris, and others), have written interesting, informative and non-technical articles. The book looks at the history and civilization of Iraq, addressing Iraq's magnificent archaeological heritage, reaching back to ancient Mesopotamia; medieval Baghdad which, among many other achievements, transmitted Greek philosophy to the West; and Iraq's complex and fascinating modern history. Aspects of the culture - art, music, and literature, and Sulieman the Magnificent, conqueror of Iraq, a few religious and ethnic communities (Christians, Jews, Shiites, and Kurds), whose history and role in the country have been the subject of confusion and misinterpretation, especially in the West. These specific communities are discussed in the context of the Arab majority and in relation to other important religious and ethnic sects, such as the Sunnis, Turkomen, Mandeans, and Yazidis. Part IV points out the impact of international sanctions on the environment and the economy, and particularly on the lives of women. Finally, Part V deals with regional and international political issues, with emphasis on the politicization of water and oil, and on U.S. policy toward Iraq. A superb collection of in-depth essays. 383 pages, maps, 10 illus.

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