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Iraq: People, History, Politics, 2nd Edition

Gareth Stansfield

ISBN: 978-0-745-64929-0 November 2016 Polity 352 Pages


Few countries can claim to have endured such a difficult and tortuous history as that of Iraq. Its varied peoples have had to contend with externally imposed state-building at the end of the First World War, through to the rise of authoritarian military regimes, to the all-encompassing power of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. They have endured destructive wars, internationally-imposed sanctions, and a further bout of destabilizing regime change and subsequent state-building from 2003. The recent rise of the Islamic State, the consolidation of the Kurdistan Region, and the response of the Shi’i populace have brought the country to a de facto partition that may bring about Iraq’s final demise.

The second edition of Iraq: People, History, Politics provides a comprehensive analysis of the political, societal, and economic dynamics that have governed Iraq’s modern development. Situating recent events within a longer historical timeframe, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the deep histories that underpin the contemporary politics of this war-torn and troubled state.

Introduction: Artificiality, Identity, Dictatorship, and State-Building

Chapter 1: Legacies of Civilizations and Empires

Chapter 2: State Formation, Monarchy, and Mandate, 1918-1932

Chapter 3: Conceptualizing Iraqi Society

Chapter 4: From Authoritarian to Totalitarian State, 1933-1979

Chapter 5: Iraq at War, 1979-1989

Chapter 6: The Pariah State, 1989-2003

Chapter 7: Regime Change, 2003-

Chapter 8: From the Brink, to the Brink

Chapter 9: The Disintegration of Iraq

Chapter 10: The Rise of the Islamic State


Thoroughly updated and revised, with three brand new chapters (8, 9 and 10) and a completely revised introduction.

‘Gareth Stansfield’s Iraq is a unique piece of research, meticulous, profound and, more importantly, timely and cool. Such multidimensional examination from objective scholars is a must.’
Faleh A. Jabar, Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies

‘An essential reference, providing the most up-to-date account of the political history of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship to the emergence of ISIS. An outstanding analysis of contemporary Iraq and the forces leading to its fragmentation.’
Eugene Rogan, Oxford University, and author of The Arabs: A History and The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East