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Historian/Expert Comments

Every hour spent reading Banking on Baghdad will be well rewarded. The historical detail is fascinating; Edwin Black's mastery of it reads like a detective story and thriller combined, and the relevance of the past has seldom been so graphically portrayed. This is a gripping exposé of historic follies, fantasies and ferocity, taking place in a region that is today still a focus and storm center as it has so often been. Oil forms a twisting thread of wealth, corruption and greed. The cast of characters and their bizarre behavior could come out of a novel; but this is fact not fiction, more endlessly intriguing and absorbing than any novel could be.
Sir Martin Gilbert
author of
Churchill a Life, Israel a History, First World War, and Second World War


Edwin Black has written a challenging and stimulating book on a difficult and highly controversial subject. He has asked questions that need to be asked, and has focused on aspects of several cultures--Islamic culture included--which all those interested in international relations should consider. Some of Black's conclusions will be surprising or even shocking to some people, including many Muslims and those, myself included, who adopt an almost entirely positive attitude toward Islamic civilization. Apologists for all cultures and all faiths need to take books like this very seriously and they should try to rise to the challenges which Edwin Black presents. To do so might not only help clarify misconceptions between major faith, philosophical and political groups, but could shake up some of the cozy assumptions within these groups.
David Nicolle
author, Armies of the Muslim Conquest, and The Mongol Warlords


Having just returned from Iraq, reading Edwin Blackˆ¢s book, Banking on Baghdad, has been an eye opening experience. Black captures as few can the mix of oil, banking, nationalism, and tribalism that is at the core of Iraq. He has uncovered important nuggets of interrelationships and interconnection that are amazing and frightening. This is a book that must be read to understand why we are in Iraq.
Prof. Samuel M. Edelman
Director, State of California Center for Excellence in the
Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance
The California State University, Chico


Any serious professional engaged in the Global War on Terrorism or concerned citizen who wishes to understand it better, must read Banking on Baghdad by Edwin Black. Black gets to the very root of the conflict, providing a riveting history of what is now Iraq. From the war of ideals in the days of Mohammed, the wider birth of Islam and the break between the Sunnis and the Shiites, to the murderous Mongols, foreign occupations and the associated tyranny, and the Ottoman Empire, Black paints the unforgettable picture. He shows why these age-old events are relevant today and to the foreseeable future in Iraq and the Middle East. When preparing for the Iraq war in 2003, I read five books; their accumulative worth was barely half of what I have found in Banking on Baghdad
Lt. Col. Christopher Hughes
Coauthor USS COLE Commission Report, founding editor The Guardian Antiterrorism Newsletter for the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Commander, 2d Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Najaf April 2003 


In Banking on Baghdad, Edwin Black tackles the big picture of Mesopotamian history and culture in a provocative way that helps us to more clearly understand the present crisis, and makes all of us think harder.
Jack Weatherford
author, Genghis Kahn and the Making of the Modern World


In Banking on Baghdad, Edwin Black has crafted one of the most accessible and extraordinary historical texts in recent memory. His tremendous research reveals a story that shocks the reader to the very core. The revelations about the Grand Mufti's role in Hitler's Final Solution will chill even the most skeptical critic.
Rachel Jagoda, executive director
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust


From the birth of wandering nomadic Mesopotamians of time immemorial to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Edwin Black's Banking on Baghdad clearly and accurately documents the history of this intriguing land. Black's superb volume probes deep within the evolving history of the land, documenting the variation of the Mesopotamian provinces and their religions, the intricate history of the Ottoman Empire, the Nazi-Zionist alliances and how post-Ottoman Iraq grew out of a zealous international desire for control of its multibillion-dollar petroleum resources. Black's extensive use of original sources is impressive, uncovering the important and little known facts that help make up the complex and intertwining history of Iraq. Banking on Baghdad will certainly open the eyes of those who seek to learn more about this country that is at the center of the world's attention.
Shelomo Alfassa
editor, International Sephardic Journal
 

 

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