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A Short History of Iraq: From 636 to the Present by Thabit Abdullah. The 20th century witnessed the transformation of Iraq from a region of the Ottoman Empire to one of the most important states in the Middle East. This book focuses on the interaction between old and new Iraq.
A History of Iraq by Charles Tripp. Traces Iraq's political history from its 19th century roots in the Ottoman empire to the development of the state, its transformation from monarchy to republic, and the rule of Saddam Hussein.
Ancient Iraq by Georges Roux. A clear and interesting guide to Mesopotamia's long history, from prehistoric times through the days of Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria, and beyond. Includes chronological tables and maps. Highly recommended.
Iraq: An Illustrated History by Gilles Munier, photographs by Erik Bonnier. A sumptuously illustrated history of the country which boasts the ruins of ancient Nineveh, Chaldea (Abraham's birthplace), Babylon, and Samara.
The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum by Lawrence Rothfield. On April 10, 2003, a mob of looters attacked the Iraq National Museum. More than 15,000 artifacts disappeared. In the years that followed, gangs dug up roughly half a million artifacts. This books examines why the wholesale thievery was allowed to occur.
The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia edited by Angela M.H. Schuster and Milbry Polk. This remarkable art book seeks to document what was lost at Baghdad's Iraq Museum in 2003. Treasures like the beautiful carved-ivory Mona Lisa of Nimrud survived 10 centuries only to fall victim to chaos and looters, some sent by international art dealers. (Review © Amazon.com.)
The Buwayhid Dynasty in Iraq 334 H./945 to 403 H./1012: Shaping Institutions for the Future by John J. Donohue. The Buyid or Buwayhid dynasty ruled Iraq and part of Iran from 945 to 1055.
Loyalty and Leadership in an Early Islamic Society by Roy Mottahedeh. Classic study of 10th and 11th century Buyid society.
Three Kings in Baghdad: The Tragedy of Iraq's Monarchy by Gerald de Gaury. The first king of Iraq, Faisal I, was installed by the British in 1921. His successor, Ghazi, supported the first military coup in the Arab world. Ghazi's suspicious death left his son Faisal king at age four. The monarchy came to a bloody end in July 1958 when Faisal II and many family members were gunned down.
The Rise and Fall of the Hashimite Kingdom of Arabia by Joshua Teitelbaum. The Hashemite Kingdom of Arabia was forged during the First World War. Its leader, Sharif Husayn ibn 'Ali, proclaimed himself king of the Arab countries, but the Allies recognised him only as king of the Hijaz. Husayn was the father of Iraq's King Faisal.
Iraq Between the Two World Wars: The Militarist Origins of Tyranny by Reeva Spector Simon. In 1921 the British created Iraq, and an entourage of ex-Ottoman army officers became the new ruling elite. The result was an abortive revolt against Britain in 1941. The legacy of the revolt was apparent in the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Iraq From Monarchy to Tyranny: From the Hashemites to the Rise of Saddam by Michael Eppel. Offers an explanation of the failure of Iraq's royal family and its successors.
Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country (1914-1932) by Peter Sluglett. An account of Britain's political involvement in Iraq and the motives behind the founding of the Iraqi state.
Independent Iraq by Matthew Elliot is about the monarchy and British influence in Iraq between 1941 and 1958, when King Feisal II was killed by revolutionaries and the monarchy was overthrown.
The Making of Iraq, 1900-1963: Capital, Power, and Ideology by Samira Haj. Explains the causes and failure of the 1958 revolution in Iraq.
Mayada: Daughter of Iraq by Jean P. Sasson. Born into a powerful Iraqi family, Mayada was imprisoned by Saddam Hussein. This book tells her story, including her encounters with royalty and Saddam himself. Written by the author of the Princess Sultana trilogy about Saudi Arabia.
The Hashemite Kings by James Morris. Published in 1959. Out of print, but available at Alibris.
Britain's Informal Empire in the Middle East: A Case Study of Iraq 1929-1941 by Daniel Silverfarb and Majid Khadduri.
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallach. Biography of the woman who helped Feisal I become Iraq's first king in 1921.
Arab War Lords and Iraqi Star Gazers: Gertrude Bell's the Arab of Mesopotamia edited by Paul Rich. Collection of once-confidential papers that Bell helped to produce for British army officers new to the Mesopotamia theater.
Iraq: Old Land, New Nation in Conflict by William Spencer. History of Iraq from ancient Mesopotamia to Saddam Hussein. For young adult readers.
Iraqi Rulers Page