'Rather than looking at Iraqi society as a blank slate on which an invading American army wrote its will, Thabit Abdullah shows how internal and external dynamics shaped Iraq in the decade and a half before Bush invaded. The US did not invent Iraq, the rich and complicated history of which defeated all the glib plans of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Abdullah sheds great illumination on why things turned out as they did.'
Juan Cole, University of Michigan
'Amidst the current chaos and tragedy, Abdullah provides a rich and illuminating study of Iraq's cultural and historical development. Impressive in its breadth, coverage and scope, concise but comprehensive, this book is an excellent read for experts and non-experts alike.'
Tareq Ismael, University of Calgary