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Churchill's Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq
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Churchill's Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  94 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
As Britain's colonial secretary in the 1920s, Winston Churchill made a mistake with calamitous consequences and unseen repercussions extending into the twenty-first century. Christopher Catherwood, scholar and adviser to Tony Blair's government, examines Churchill's creation of the artificial monarchy of Iraq after World War One, forcing together unfriendly peoples—Sunni M ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 19th 2005 by Basic Books (first published July 1st 2004)
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Czarny Pies
Nov 06, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to know how and where the ISIS mess started.
Shelves: asian-history
The problems of the West with ISIS make this book highly topical. In it Christopher Catherwood shows that Iraq is a country created by morons in a hurry for reasons that had nothing to do with the needs of the people living in the region. Consequently, Iraq's problems never solve themselves, they simply get worse on a perpetual basis.

In 1922, the European powers met in Cairo in order to finalize a map of the middle east and to install political regimes where necessary all of which was accomplish
Rowland Bismark
Jul 30, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it really liked it
Great Britain and a few bit players met in Cairo in 1922 and carved up the southwest Asia. The ramifications of this event are still being felt today. This is a well-researched exploration of the subject, but it is a bit too narrow in its focus. The database covered (mostly Winston’s own correspondence and cables) is a bit narrow, and the attempt to integrate the perspectives of other sources is valiant but insufficient. Still, this is a fascinating read and the information gained from the, agai ...more
George Miller
Feb 18, 2014 George Miller rated it really liked it
This tedious book is an thorough history of the post World War I Middle East, from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire to the creation of its current nation structure. Winston Churchill had the unfortunate responsibility of running the remnants of the Ottoman Middle East empire under the League of Nations mandate with limited resources and very little support from his PM. Since most of the oil resources in the Middle East were not known in the 1920s, the UK was interested in getting out as cheaply ...more
Glenn Robinson
Mar 14, 2016 Glenn Robinson rated it liked it
What do you get when you artificially create a bunch of countries that have never existed before? Irish liberation for one! Next you create perpetual turmoil which creates the rifts that allow ISIS to occur. The events of today will ripple for the next 100 years. The decisions of 1920-1922 might have looked good at the time, but the end result is still to be seen. This is a fairly good book about the creation of Iraq and Churchill's role it. Iraq was pretty much doomed from the start according t ...more
Bob Draben
Aug 20, 2007 Bob Draben rated it liked it
In 1921, the British completely redrew the map of the Middle East. They and the French had toppled the weak Ottoman Empire and took over much of their territories, most going to the British.

The Ottomans had ruled what is now called Iraq in three separate colonis, with the non-Arab Kurds in the north,the Shites mostly in the south, and the Sunni, mostly in the center. Thus the major factions of Islam were largely separated under different rulers, and the Indo-European Kurds were largely separated
Steven Peterson
Feb 06, 2011 Steven Peterson rated it liked it
The state of Iraq was conceived in error. The English drew lines on maps and thus created a country with separate populations--Kurd, Sunni, Shia. Thus, the problem of a nonunified populace occurred at the beginning.

Then, the English favored Sunnis, thus creating conflicts among the three major population groups.

Budgetary problems led to England running its "mandate" on the cheap.

Valuable lessons on intervention into foreign countries. . . .
Brian Sullivan
Aug 21, 2015 Brian Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A valuable book that demonstrates that Churchill's policy was driven by military cost cutting in an attempt to balance Britain's post WWI budget. He argues - on the basis of Winston's copious note that Churchill meticulously kept - that oil was not the original motive for Iraq, although it may have motivated latter governments.
Howard C.
Jan 11, 2010 Howard C. rated it really liked it
Originally selected for research on Gertrude Bell, this had little on her, but definitely has me thinking -- and rereading it -- about Churchill's role. While I hate to call something "revisionist", it, like a number of recent works, is fairly rough on T.E. Lawrence, who may well be more of legend than reality.
Sep 17, 2011 Roger rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Uneven, overlong and repetitive but valuable for the insights it provides about the "country", region & history. And, by the way, is there any comparable figure in modern western hagiography to Churchill? Rand maybe? ugh.
Jan 08, 2013 Raquel rated it really liked it
Great book to understand the Midddle East.
Needs a bit of updating, but that's history for you doesn't stop.
Apr 09, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Great book for those who want an overview of the middle east countries and how they were decided upon.
Pamela Vonstowver
Pamela Vonstowver rated it did not like it
Jan 21, 2016
Bill & Helene
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Apr 29, 2008
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Jul 27, 2011
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Susie Peyton rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2016
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Jul 21, 2011
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William Shep rated it it was ok
Jun 11, 2008
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Sep 28, 2015
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Mar 30, 2013
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Jc Bollerman
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Mar 14, 2008 ETF rated it liked it
Want to understand what will happen in Iraq? This will tell you.
Steve rated it liked it
Feb 03, 2013
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Jul 03, 2012
Koba Kay
Koba Kay rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2015
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Christopher Catherwood is a writer and historian based in Cambridge. He has taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of Richmond, Virginia. An expert on Winston Churchill, his previous books include the bestseller Winston’s Folly.
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