Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotWhile Iraq represents a mix of cultures and religions, it is mostly a Muslim country with two major sects. In early times the country was inhabited by nomads and it was known as Mesopotamia, Sumaria, Arcadia, Babylon and so on. Among the many milestones in its history was the development of writing and the promulgation of the code Hammurabi. Following through history, we move to Alexander the Great then Arab rule and World War I, which brought British control to the region and then finally an Iraqi Parliament with a king. Faisal the First was king of Syria and was selected to become King of Iraq. This raised issues of non-native rule and generated conflict among the religious sects because Faisal was a Sunni. In 1932, Iraq became independent and unfortunately in World War II, the British stepped in again when Iraqis refused to allow troops and supplies to be posted in the country. Then revolution followed with a military takeover all leading to the rule of Saddam Hussein, who became a tyrant who killed his enemies and stifled opposition. Then Iran became Iraq's enemy, in part because Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini wanted a stricter faith. He encouraged rebellions among the faithful, which resulted in an eight-year war, including fighting against the Kurds. The war's economic sanctions and 9/11 and the linking of terrorists to the Hussein regime and potential chemical and nuclear weapons resulted in the invasion of U.S. and allied troops into Iraq in 2003. (No proof was ever found to support this invasion.) The text presents information about various groups within Iraq and offers comparisons between city and country life. Foods are presented along with a recipe and brief information aboutthe educational system. There is a glossary and an index in this book, which is part of the "Lands, Peoples and Cultures" series. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-6-It's difficult to write about a country in the midst of a devastating war that is changing its history, its land, and the daily life of its people. These books present a look at Iraq as it once was but do not provide enough reminders that things are changing rapidly. As readers look at people going about their daily lives and work, there should be the nagging thought, is this still true? While there is some necessary repetition among the titles, each one provides an overview of its subject and a good sense of the rich history of this country and the many peoples who have settled there and added to its culture. The photography is crisp and clear and the language, with an additional glossary for difficult terms, is direct. In contrast, the discussions of the various groups who settled the area and the many conflicts for control are not clear because of the lack of maps and time lines. These books provide plenty of information for reports about pre-invasion Iraq but may already be outdated.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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