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Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein Paperback – 16 Feb 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New edition edition (16 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060929839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060929831
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,018,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

When the United States and its allies launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1991 in retaliation for that nation's invasion of Kuwait, the plans to bomb "command and control" centres had a clear, albeit largely unspoken, objective: "We don't do assassinations," National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft has acknowledged, "but yes, we targeted all the places where Saddam might have been." The only problem: he wasn't there and, nearly a decade after the Gulf War, he continues to remain in power.

Patrick and Andrew Cockburn present a two-pronged story in Out of the Ashes. They fill readers in on the background of Saddam Hussein's rise to power; an instrumental figure in the Baath Party's 1968 seizure of power, he became president of Iraq in 1979, initiating his reign with a bloody purge of dissenters. The two journalists also chart the disastrous effects of the economic sanctions to which Iraq has been subject since 1991. The sanctions were intended to provoke Iraqi military leadership into overthrowing Saddam, but public remarks by then-president George Bush inadvertently inspired revolt among the general Iraqi population. The military was thus too busy putting down nationwide rebellion to organise a coup; a CIA-sponsored effort five years later was an abject failure. And the sanctions, the Cockburns note, appear to have succeeded only in creating holocaust conditions and anti-Western sentiment among the Iraqis.

Patrick Cockburn brings the experience of 20 years spent covering the Middle East and his brother Andrew is well known for his reportage on the American Government's policymaking. The result is a wealth of information about Iraqi politics--and the consistent miscomprehension of those politics by U.S. strategic planners--delivered in a tightly written narrative. --Ron Hogan, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The picture of the last eight years that emerges is among the most coherent and accessible of any book on Iraq to date."-- "New York Times Book Review""The most detailed look available at what has happened in post-Gulf War Iraq.... Because of Patrick Cockburn's contacts in Baghdad, "Out of the Ashes" brings light to a political system that most American writing leaves shrouded in darkness." -- "Washington Post Book World"A clear, lively, well-researched narrative, which moves along at a brisk pace.... Rich in information and atmospehre."-- "The Nation""A fascinating history of the global and regional intrigues and miscues that have allowed Saddam Hussein to defiantly survive.... Among the best books yet written on the malignant enigma that is Saddam Hussein." -- "Kirkus Review"

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 May 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Cockburns bring an ideal combination of experiences to this book: knowledge of US politics and of the Middle East. For someone accustomed to the dry detail of UN reports on Iraq their book was like colour television: the tribal brutality of the Iraqi regime (sending guns ahead to beseiged opponents, to make it a fair fight), the clownlike incompetence of US intelligence (playing eyeball games with Iranian intelligence in Iraqi Kurdistan as they weren't allowed to talk) explode across their screen in technicolour against a constant backdrop of suffering by ordinary Iraqis (half the children in this once oil rich state now malnourished). The one colour not in the Cockburn's palate is rosy: the US officials make it clear that the sanctions aren't about UN Security Council Resolutions; it's personal. They have reached this clarity after refusing to aid the Iraqi uprising that nearly toppled Saddam in 1991; US planes loiter overhead while Iraqi helicopter gunships mow down resistance. The British had told Bush then that toppling Saddam would have meant having to hold elections in a region where their allies were monarchs. Saddam's son, Uday, tensely cuts things up all evening with an electric knife, getting drunker and drunker while looking for an opportunity to jump the hedge to the neighbour's party and cut his father's pimp. The Pope calls the sanctions, which have prevented repairs to Iraq's sewage, electrical and water supply systems, examples of biological warfare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By uncle joe on 14 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Same book as Saddam Hessein, An American obsession. Different cover, Different name but its exactly the same chapters and verse
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Insightful and well-researched! 28 Mar 2002
By Critical Eyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book presents valuable insights into post-gulf war Iraq and the political intricacies of Saddam’s regime. Given the recent major terrorist incidents, the study of Iraq and its dictator holds great relevance. Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds, and was known to have ambitious programs to build a biological, chemical and nuclear arsenal. Thanks to the UN sanctions, its economic prowess has been significantly weakened. Otherwise, it could be both a formidable terror state as well as resource-rich sponsor of terrorism worldwide. But an Iraq under Saddam cannot be underestimated; it is and has always been a very real threat. What should be US’s policies towards this rogue state? Well, read this book and maybe you would have formed some answers in your mind.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
a good read 28 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Out of the Ashes was good book and a timely one. Its greatest strengths are the authors' description of Hussein's family and its murderous pattern of doing "business."
But it's not a perfect book. I got the impression that some events were glossed over by the Cockburns. There is also a very faint aroma of anti-American sentiment. The authors find much to criticize --particularly Scott Ritter-- but only spend a paragraph or so at the very end of the book suggesting how we can deal with Saddam.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Do we even have a policy? 9 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is hard to imagine how a better book on the subject of Iraq since the Gulf War could be written. Andrew Cockburn - based in Washington, DC and Patrick - based in Jerusalem - are able to make use of an incredible assortment of inside sources to take us step-by-step through the US's (in most cases the CIA's) disastrous non-strategy of the past decade. Illogical and inconsistent policies, the betrayal of allies, lost opportunities, a continued failure to support viable oppostion movements - it's all here, crisply narrated.
What really sets this book apart is the authors' astounding ability to elicit surreal humor from the most evil of situations - for example a first-hand account of Saddam's murdurous son Uday (who is also Chair of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, which has its own prison) discussing with his very fat and very drunk Armenian tailor (known as 'the philosopher') the relative merits of Liberace and Engelbert Humperdinck.
I read this book this weekend at a single sitting, and I am proud to add it to my extensive library of Middle East policy studies. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Reporting 3 May 2003
By chloe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for one book to give you a thorough background on Iraq and its relations with the US, this is it. The Cockburn brothers have refused to dumb down the information, and yet have written a book that is accessible to all curious readers. Their lively account of the rise of Saddam and his Baath party held my attention throughout, reeling me in with good stories, while at the same time communicating the highly complex workings of the Iraqi government over the past several decades. Operating in ignorance of historical context is a dangerous game. The Cockburns go deep beneath the surface of Iraqi politics to give us the tools to understand the present situation. It's too bad that the administration apparently failed to read this book before barrelling ahead with war. Don't make the same mistake! Read the book, get the facts, and draw your own conclusions.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Life inside the regime of Saddam Hussein 22 Aug 2000
By saskatoonguy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book will fascinate anyone with a deep interest in the Gulf War. The Cockburns show us what was happening on the other side, within Iraq. We're given a rich portrait of what life is like in Hussein's inner circle, the functioning of the various anti-Hussein factions, and the CIA's unsuccessful efforts to foment Hussein's overthrow. Hussein's atrocities are fully documented, as is the incompetence of the CIA - no one comes out of this book smelling like a rose. The Cockburns argue that the US should have pushed on to Baghdad during the Gulf War, and they're harsh toward the US for its naive hope that somehow, against all odds, someone will overthrow Hussein. The most shocking part of the book is an account of an attempted CIA-backed coup in 1996, in which the CIA allowed the coup to go forward in spite of hard evidence that Iraqi authorities had advance knowledge. The result was that many Iraqi dissidents, working under the CIA's leadership, were sent to their imprisonment and death.
The Cockburns harshly criticize the US's ongoing blockade of Iraq, despite their own account of Hussein's determination to develop biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. The Cockburns end their book with the prediction that somehow the Iraqi people will rise up against Hussein. Yet the authors spent most of the book criticizing the US for taking exactly that same stance - naively hoping for an uprising. This glaring inconsistency is an incredible flaw in an otherwise fascinating book.
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