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Reviews

IMPRESSIVE... THOUGHTFUL AND METICULOUS. Edwin Black's Banking on Baghdad underlines Iraq's long history of exploitation by Western powers and powerful corporations struggling for advantage and domination. His impressive analysis, which included looking at more than 50,000 original documents and hundreds of scholarly books and articles, provides a comprehensive history of Iraq that explains why the West's record in the region so complicates nation-building there today. Black's book is thoughtful and meticulous, though many readers may find the breadth of analysis too ambitious... His analysis, nevertheless, highlights the deficit of legitimacy the United States faces in Iraq and the wider Middle East.
Washington Post Book World
Richard A. Clarke, author of Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
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POWERFUL. EVOCATIVE AND TAUT. [Banking on Baghdad is] Edwin Black's powerful new study of Iraq's place in the world... Black's prose is solid and evocative throughout. His taut description of the atrocities visited upon the region's Moslems, first by each other, and later, Genghis Khan's Mongols, is vivid and chilling. For those interested in business history, his study of the relationship between commercial and political interests, especially the company that eventually became British Petroleum, is well worth the price of admission. There's also ample material to draw from to consider the future path of Iraq... Black is committed, if not obsessed, with hyper-intensive research and documentation. His books are copiously footnoted and referenced. Given the seriousness and scope of the subjects, this is an absolute necessity.
Miami Herald
Richard Pachter
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BLACK LOOKS AT EVERYTHING. Edwin Black makes a determined effort to elucidate why Iraq has been a center of commerce and turmoil for thousands of years. Even before industrialized society became dependent on its black gold, he writes, the area was "the intersection of intellectual and commercial exchange" and a target for invaders. Black looks at everything from the 13th-century Mongol invasion to today's war profiteering in this ambitious volume. Editor's Choice
Boston Herald
Rosemary Herbert
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REMARKABLY THOROUGH. WHAT A FASCINATING HISTORY. Nothing in Iraq's history has ever been pretty or easy. As investigative reporter Edwin Black
chronicles in Banking on Baghdad, Mesopotamia - the land known as the "cradle of civilization" - has had one of the world's most unstable, troubled and bloody histories. This book could just as well have been called A Short History of Iraq. But this is much more than a primer. In the span of 400-odd pages, Black covers remarkably thoroughly the minutiae of thousands of years of geographical, political and religious history. And what a fascinating history. Iraq has come a long way from its pre-biblical status as a centre of medical, artistic and intellectual prowess. Black takes us through the various occupations of Mesopotamia over the centuries by everyone from Genghis Khan to the Ottomans to the British, and in acute detail. Black tries to show that the reason so much attention has been paid to Iraq, especially in the modern era, is its oil. He does so fairly convincingly. Particularly interesting is Black's exploration of the (thankfully unsuccessful) Nazi posturing to seize Iraq's crude in the Second World War.
Montreal Gazette
Adam Daifallah
 
A GRIPPING STORY. Black's fascinating account brings Iraq's rich history vividly to life. The author has a wonderful ability to turn historical events, obscure to most Western readers, into a gripping story...The standard of scholarship is excellent.
Middle East Quarterly
Patrick Clawson
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