A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Solid Reading on Iraq

The other day I posted my "Readings on Iraq by People Who Know Something About Iraq."  James Fallows does something similar in The Atlantic, which has a lot more readers than I do: "What's Worth Reading About Iraq."

As it happens, our links are different, except for the same piece by Graham Fuller, so do read his as well. One of particular note is his link to a piece by William R. Polk with an introduction by Franklin C. Spinney. Bill Polk has been getting the Middle East mostly right since the 1950s. When I mentioned to my staff last year that I'd seen Polk during one of his occasional visits to DC (he lives in the French countryside, and is in his 80s), one of my younger staff members said, "I read his work as an undergraduate." To which I replied to someone some 40 years my junior, "Hell, I read his work as an undergraduate." He's written widely on US policy generally (he was involved with the Policy Planning Staff during the Cuban missile crisis) and on many aspects of the Arab world. But he's also a Harvard-trained historian whose first Middle East book, The Opening of South Lebanon 1788-1840: A Study of the Impact of the West on the Middle East (1963) is still a classic.

Oh, and don't miss this:

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