Understanding Iraq
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Understanding Iraq

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  138 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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 essen...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published April 5th 2005)
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As the author intends, I think I can now say "aaah, I understand". The book is a good historical report on a land in constant contention that will have no parity among peoples. Just as there will not be a "fair" solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis, there will be no fair solution between the Assyrian Christians, Kurds, Sunnis, and Shias in Iraq. Some peoples' interests are going to be suppressed by others.

In the concluding analysis Mr. Polk is clearly biased against the Bush admini...more
Steven Peterson
The purpose of this volume is straightforward (page xi): ". . .I am trying to give as complete a 'portrait' of Iraq as is now possible so that readers can evaluate the often confusing daily events. . . . I believe that knowing about events over-time is crucial to a perception of the present."

This book has several strengths in outlining Iraqi history: (1) it is brief and gives a sense of the sweep of Iraqi history in a way that can be digested well; (2) the history begins much earlier than other...more
Mustafa Basree
Unlike many other historians who tell the history in a page or so, William Polk, takes you through the Iraqi history in an interestingly and excitingly approach! First he divides the book into substantial chapters: ancient Iraq, Islamic Iraq, British Iraq, Revolutionary Iraq, and American Iraq and he dedicated the last chapter to 'whose Iraq?' Indeed he opens the books with the people who inhabited the Mesopotamia and takes you all the way to civilizations, wars, coups, to modern Iraq. As you go...more
Michael Bradham
William Polk opened my eyes to many hidden truths of Iraq and surrounding areas, including Syria. Once a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Council; he provides profound insight. He lived in Iraq, knows the language, and has met with men of power to discuss relations with America. I was unaware of how similar American involvement now, is to British involvement of 90 years ago. Interesting book in all aspects. I enjoyed reading about language differences of Arabic and English. Sourc...more
Polk gives a very reader friendly description of Iraqi history. The tagline is: "The whole sweep of Iraqi history from Genghis Kahn's Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation." If you're looking for a concise reading from an expert, Understanding Iraq is a great choice.

The only downside is that William Polk, who "read Arabic and Turkish at Oxford," is occasionally self-important.
This was a relatively easy read, with a concise history of a country that I know so little about (and has such huge implications for modern foreign policy and our incoming president). I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know a bit more about an important (and confusing!) part of the world.
Gabriel Joseph
Jun 07, 2008 Gabriel Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are interested with the current Iraqi conflict
This book really was a great introduction to the history of the area and its people. It can be a little biased against the GOP and how the current war has become a chaotic mess. As a whole the book is very enlightening for anyone wanting to receive a quick lesson about Iraq.
Yvonne Carter
Gives the history of Iraq and pulls from lessons learned from history -- or should have learned but ignore. Shows why American war in Iraw is wrong plus enumerated deceitful actions ofmen in our government
A pretty dry accounting of Iraq's history. It almost felt like reading encyclopedia entries. You really have to have an interest in Iraq to get through it, thankfully though it is a short read.
I learned a great deal about the history of the Iraqi people from this book. I felt the author kept the book simple but informative. Overall, it was a good introduction to the Iraqi peoples.
A suitable introduction to Iraqi history. Particularly strong in its discussion of Revolutionary Iraq and the place of the Baathists in a broad historical and political context.
Good overview. Definitely have more questions and specific issues I want to read about in more depth as a result. Good starting point
The opening chapter reads like Genesis (I never made it past Genesis), but once out of pre-history it was an extraordinary read.
Very good book and an easy read to get a basic understanding of the history of the area of Iraq.
Joyce Martin
I learned a lot about the region. Basic enough for all to read, thank goodness.
Pete Nickeas
Broad and abridged version of Iraq's history. Informative.
Aug 17, 2007 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: America, the rest of the world
Just started it, and already very illuminating.
Joe Davis
Nice short historical overview of Iraq.
Funny how history repeats
Leigh C
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Goodreads Librari...: Page count 2 157 Dec 07, 2013 10:00AM  
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