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Children's LiteratureIn today's political world, few issues are more volatile or as controversial as the West's involvement with Iraq. The presence of United States military and changes in Iraq's political structure are so volatile. It is difficult to write anything about Iraq without bias. Adrian Sinkler does an excellent job presenting the facts about the Iraqi struggle for economic independence and political stability, without bias toward one strategy, country, or policy. Iraq began as part of ancient Mesopotamia but became part of a separate, united land after the prophet Muhammad founded the Islamic religion in what is currently Iraq. The unity did not last, and disputes over succession to the throne in 680 AD led the Islamic followers to split into two separate factions—the Shi'ites and the Sunnis. This split became a permanent rift that continues to affect the people of Iraq today. Struggles between the dominant British and Ottoman empires over control of Iraq's economy in the 1930s led to political upheaval, even after Iraq claimed its independence of outside rule in 1932. For the next forty years, Iraq struggled with political battles that created both an autocratic government and a country controlled solely by the whims of its dictators. Even after a non-militant, democratic government was established in the early 21st century, Iraq continues to struggle in building a prosperous country devastated by war. This is an excellent book to use as a resource about the continuing struggle to rebuild a nation. The reading is dry, however, and it is hard to focus on the story. The book is wonderful for research projects, but it is unlikely that children will pick it up to read on their own. 2006, ThomsonGale, Ages 11 to 15.