Desert Hell

Desert Hell

The British Invasion of Mesopotamia

Book - 2011
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Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.
ISBN: 9780674059993
Characteristics: xxiv, 591 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.


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Aug 24, 2015

This is an outstanding book about the campaign in Mesopotamia in World War I. It differs from A.J. Barker's book The Neglected War(1967)/The First Iraq War(2010) in that Townshend spends more time discussing the strategic and political sides of the conflict instead of the purely military fight. Townshend believes that the conflict was less a well thought out enterprise but instead a case of mission creep on a massive scale. He points out that at several critical moments in the conflict, the mission creep assumed a momentum of its own. Townshend continues the book after the war ended to discuss the creation of Iraq and the first few years of its existence. He explains what that meant for Iraq and its future. He also discusses the Kurdish question and how they wound up as part of Iraq. The book does not supplant Barker's book but certainly complements it very well. This book is an important one and a must for every major library, those wanting to understand the early history of Iraq and those interested in World War I.


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