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Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied

Toby Dodge

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Paper, 288 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13167-4

November, 2003
Cloth, 288 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-13166-7

"For Dodge, the Americans running things in Baghdad have learned little from the British experience in Iraq. This book ought to be required reading for them." — Mike Schuster, NPR, "All Things Considered"

"Dodge analyzes what he describes as the failure of the British nation-building in the 1920s. . . . [I]t is not out of place to point out one important implication of his account for the Anglo-American invasion and occupation. It is that there are longstanding limits to the use of high-tech weaponry and air power in effectively ruling a conquered population, even in the task of counterinsurgency." — Juan Cole, The Nation

"As postwar Iraq struggles forward, Toby Dodge's book has many lessons. Inventing Iraq is primarily a cold-eye analysis of Britain's failures as an occupying power after the first world war. . . . Dodge's book is a powerful warning to look at countries in their own cultural and historical context." — Jonathan Steele, The Guardian (UK)

"Toby Dodge of Britain's Warwick University—and author ofInventing Iraq, a superb recent book on the mandate—points out the ways in which coalition authorities today are making the same mistakes as the British did 80 years ago." — Michael Elliott, Time Magazine

"[Dodge] offers compelling analogies and pointed commentary on how the United States might still be able to avoid repetition of some of the U.K.'s more serious mistakes. . . . Dodge recognizes that much of what is happening in Iraq today is the result of past events, and thus less amenable to after-the-fact corrective action." — Edward L. Peck, Middle East Policy

"The best of the policy provocative studies is Toby Dodge's book,Inventing Iraq . . . Dodge argues that the creation of the state of Iraq under a mandate system represented a break with traditional territorial imperialism and signaled the beginning of the end of British international dominance." — Judith S. Yaphe, Middle East Journal

"Dodge examines contemporary and historical experiences from macro to micro perspectives. . . . The parallels between current conditions in Iraq and those that shaped the interwar years provide valuable insight to a country whose troubles have origins in the flawed policies of an earlier era. . . . Recommended." — Choice

"Toby Dodge's Inventing Iray is an excellent title for the authoritative work..." — Roy M. Melbourne, American Diplomacy

"Dodge builds a convincing case that, should the Americans continue with prescriptions that bear little relation to where Iraq is now, they risk...denying the Iraqi people "the chance at getting the better life they so richly deserve."" — Martin Bunton, International Journal

"Toby Dodge correctly depicts Iraq as a failed state arising from failed British policies and administrations early in the twentieth century...The audience for such commentary is wide." — Roger Adelson, American Historical Review

"Inventing Iraq is a timely book with important implications for today's foreign policy and international development communities." — Derick W. Brinkerhoff, Public Administration

"It is a good book, and it is timely." — International Journal of Middle East Studies

"Most interesting and original, from the point of view of theoretical vigour and empirical richness. Dodge argues against 'transhistorical' or essentialist views of late colonialism and also shows, very convincingly, the multifaceted nature of colonial practice and the often widely divergent views of colonial officials...well exceptionally interesting piece of work." — Peter Sluglett, University of Utah

"A very good piece of work in every respect: extensive research, familiarity and mastery of the secondary literature, well organised and lucid, conceptually sophisticated, with theoretical themes woven into the fabric of the substantive analysis." — Sami Zubeida, Birkbeck College, University of London

"This fine, lucid book is absolutely essential reading for anyone desiring to understand how profoundly history shapes the current disastrous situation in Iraq, and it shows how terrible is the price for ignoring it." — Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, Middle East Institute, Columbia University

"This book is essential for an understanding of Iraqi history and the challenges that we are facing there today. " — Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE)

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About the Author

Toby Dodge is a senior research fellow at the ESRC Centre for the Study of Globalisation at the University of Warwick, England, and an associate fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. He has acted as a consultant on Iraq for ABC News and has written for the Guardian. He is coeditor, with Stephen Simon, of Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change and, with Richard Higgott, of Globalisation and the Middle East: Islam, Economics, Society, and Politics.

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