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

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Overview

Toby Dodge uncovers a series of shocking parallels between the policies of a declining British Empire and those of the current U.S. administration. Examining the construction by the modern state of Iraq (1920-1932) under the auspices of the British Empire, Dodge analyzes the first attempt by a Western power to remake Mesopotamia in its own image.
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Editorial Reviews

Public Administration - Derick W. Brinkerhoff

Inventing Iraq is a timely book with important implications for today's foreign policy and international development communities.

Choice

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.

The Nation - Juan Cole

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.

Middle East Journal - Judith S. Yaphe

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.

American Historical Review - Roger Adelson

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.

NPR, "All Things Considered" - Mike Schuster

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.

The Guardian (UK) - Jonathan Steele

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.

Time Magazine - Michael Elliott

Toby Dodge of Britain's Warwick University--and author of Inventing 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.

Middle East Policy - Edward L. Peck

[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.

American Diplomacy - Roy M. Melbourne

Toby Dodge's Inventing Iray is an excellent title for the authoritative work...

International Journal - Martin Bunton

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."

International Journal of Middle East Studies

It is a good book, and it is timely.

Public Administration
Inventing Iraq is a timely book with important implications for today's foreign policy and international development communities.

— Derick W. Brinkerhoff

The Nation
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

Middle East Journal
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

Choice

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.

American Historical Review
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

The Guardian (UK)
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

Time Magazine
Toby Dodge of Britain's Warwick University — and author of Inventing 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

Middle East Policy
[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

American Diplomacy
Toby Dodge's Inventing Iray is an excellent title for the authoritative work...

— Roy M. Melbourne

International Journal
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231131667
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet 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.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Understanding the mandate in Iraq 1
2 The mandate system, the end of imperialism, and the birth of the Iraqi state 5
3 Corruption, fragmentation, and despotism : British visions of Ottoman Iraq 43
4 Rural and urban : the divided social imagination of late colonialism 63
5 Using the shaikhs : the rational imposition of a romantic figure 83
6 The social meaning of land : state, shaikh, and peasant 101
7 The imposition of order : social perception and the "despotic" power of airplanes 131
Conclusion : Iraq's past and possible Iraqi futures 157
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2006

    INVENTING IRAQ: as Dry as the Desert

    If you are looking for a book to educate you about the creation of modern Iraq and the personalities that made it happen, this book will surely disappoint. Unless you already have a foundation in middle east history, you will be lost from the beginning. The author has taken a fascinating, intrigue filled period of history and produced a dry, boring tome that has all the excitement of an accounting textbook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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