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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

on 5 February 2015
An excellent account of the war from the front line to the White House. Made even better by a comprehensive history of the region and the recent history of the nations that occuppy it.
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on 4 February 2017
Good read - found it a bit too easy to put down
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on 3 November 2016
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on 8 October 2016
Perfect. As described . Arrived promptly
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on 28 May 2008
As a long term reader of Keegan's work I found this book a little disapointing. After a very good introduction coviering the recent history of Iraq and a reasonable section on the rise of Saddam (for me John Simpson's coverage is better), I think Keegan loses his objectivity when covering the military operations of Iraqi Freedom and particularly the British Op Telic. The coverage of Op Telic, though only a small part, comes across as particularly gushing.

I disagree with an earlier reviewer about the detail of the military operations. For me Cobra II provided a far better account, as did Rick's Fiasco.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2010
This is an odd book; as I read I wondered if the author had been unwell during its gestation. At times we see the old Keegan flashes, but at others it is very slow stuff. Strangely enough, despite the author's field of interest, I found his political summaries by far the best bits of the book. Having said all that I enjoyed the book and found it very useful to be reminded of the proper order of events and the degree to which my memory is not to be trusted. The brief summary of the events around David Kelly's death deserve applause.
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VINE VOICEon 8 January 2009
The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq is highly controversial for a number of reasons. The military action took second place the months of negotiations beforehand and the insurgency that took place afterwards does make the casualties of the occupation pale into insignificance. In fact the entire campaign of March-April 2003 is highly reminiscent of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Resistance was provided by irregulars and was quickly quashed.

So what is there for a military historian to write about? Well, quite a lot. Keegan gives us a potted history of Iraq and the rise of Saddam and also of the attitudes of the population and their faith. He covers the pre-war discussions at the UN, highlighting France's intransigence, which forced Bush and Blair to go it alone. Jacques Chiraq is portrayed in an unflattering light for effectively propping up a disgusting regime (on a side note, this seems consistent - Giscard D'Estaing was mates with the cannibal Bokassa and Mitterand collaborated with the Vichy regime in WWII). He gets into the mindset of all the protagonists and outlines the reasons for their actions and also what divided the western democracies over how to deal with Iraq.

There is little detail about the fighting, but that is not necessary as there was so little - the Iraq army faded away as soldiers threw off their uniforms and went home in civvies.

Keegan briefly covers the aftermath of the fighting, the botched attempt at nation-building and also the Dr Kelly affair.

He has produced a single volume work that will stand the test of time. This is not an instant book. Its detailed explanation of the events means that this is a book that will be referred to in decades to come by any reader wanting to grasp the salient details from an objective point of view without the need for further explanations of any of the terms used.

If you want to understand this war without the author getting on their high horse then this book is for you. Read this book and then make up your own mind.
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on 7 November 2009
John Keegan is a noted military historian who has written comprehensive works on the First and Second World Wars, the Napoleonic War, and intelligence in warfare.
With all the pro-Arab anti-war hype that has dominated discussion of the Iraq War of 2003 by the USA and UK to liberate Iraq from the monstrous tyranny of Saddam Hussein, it is refreshing to find an objective account where actually gleans that the war to free Iraq was in many ways justified.

Keegan studied the war from various perspectives and conducted interviews with General Tommy Franks and the American Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld.
He successfully writes a history of the causes, complications and effects of the 2003 War, and investigates and explains the real reasons for the invasion, the successes of the American and British forces (with two fascinating chapters on the military campaigns of each) , the collapse of the Republican Guard, the complete lack of will of the Iraqi people to defend the Saddam dictatorship and the fall of Baghdad to Allied troops.

The Iraqi people had suffered from Saddam's bloody reign of terror for too long and apart form Saddam's own SS, the Republican Guard and loyalists of Saddam's Fascist Ba'ath Party, the Iraqi people had no reason to defend the Saddam regime.
The soldiers of the Iraqi army simply deserted in mass and became civilians. The terrorist fedayeen who opposed the Allied invasion were almost all non-Iraqis, they consisted of Syrian, Saudi, Palestinian, Pakistani and other Islamist who had infiltrated into Iraq.
The Kurds in northern Iraq or rather Iraqi occupied Kurdistan as I see it, were unanimous in their support for the allied invasion and the their was widespread support from the Shia in the south who had long been persecuted by Saddam. The media did not wish to report on these many inconvenient truths, in the pro-Arab, anti-war positions of neo-Marxist dogma. furthermore contrary to the accepted leftist-Islamist propaganda that there was a large casualty count, the count of casualties caused to Iraqi civilians as a result of allied actions was very low and the Allies were careful to minimize casualties among the civilian population to a scruulous degree.

The author discusses the anti-war hysteria and the marches across the world by the brainwashed minions of radical leftism,and notes that in Britain, the indigenous working class largely supported the war. It was Islamic and other Third world immigrant minorities and the privileged intellectual classes who opposed the liberation of Iraq.
The chattering classes of Britain hold on to a contempt for the Britain's white working class because the letter's patriotism is the major obstacle in turning the United Kingdom into an Islamic dominated state run by Islamists and Marxist elites.

The first three chapters of the book examine Iraq's history, and include the fact that Iraq itself was an artificial creation of British colonialism in the 1920s, an monstrosity of three separate nations forced together. I, a believer, in the self-determination of national groups, think that Iraq should be partitioned into a Kurdish, Shia and sunni Arab state, but due tho the world's unhealthy focus exclusively on the demands of the Palestinians,(because of the domination of world opinion by the anti-democratic left) Kurdish self-determination (like that of the Tibetans and countless other genuinely repressed and occupied nations) has been taken off the radar screen.
Sadly the great vision of self-determination of nations espoused by the great visionary Woodrow Wilson, after the First World War, has been effectively destroyed for now, by the United Nations. The author makes the case for the fact that terror and rogue regimes do sometimes have to be opposed by force, but the complete capture of opinion-making buy the pro-Arab neo-Marxist left and the abandonment of the war on terror and opposition to tyranny by the pro-Arab Barack Obama have made this option impossible for now to precede and by so doing have put the world in a more difficult position.
History will judge President bush and tony Blair as having been on the right track to attempt save the world from bloodshed, terror, and tyranny.
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on 11 July 2006
John Keegan has produced a good introduction to the Iraq war in this book. The first few chapters of the book concentrate on the history and religion of Iraq and the Middle East before the rise of Saddam Hussein. This part of the book is particularly interesting and helpful in explaining the current crisis. Keegan then describes the rise of saddam and his clash with the West in 1990 and the current crisis. The military operations are, of course, described in great detail.
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