Saddam's Word; The Political Discourse in Iraq

Overview

This is the first serious attempt to understand modern Iraq through a close examination of the political discourse used by the Ba'th regime and its leader, Saddam Hussein. By analyzing political terms, concepts, and idioms as disseminated through the official Iraqi mouthpieces, author Ofra Bengio illuminates Iraq's political culture and the events that these expressions have both reflected and shaped. Not only does this study add to our understanding of the "Saddam enigma;" it also offers a more universal truth: ...

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Overview

This is the first serious attempt to understand modern Iraq through a close examination of the political discourse used by the Ba'th regime and its leader, Saddam Hussein. By analyzing political terms, concepts, and idioms as disseminated through the official Iraqi mouthpieces, author Ofra Bengio illuminates Iraq's political culture and the events that these expressions have both reflected and shaped. Not only does this study add to our understanding of the "Saddam enigma;" it also offers a more universal truth: that under any regime, political culture is built on public discourse. Saddam's Word will be of much interest to students of the contemporary Middle East, as well as to all other observers of Saddam Hussein and his regime.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Bengio] has written the most important book on Baathi Iraq since Kanan Makiya's Republic of Fear (published in 1989 under the pseudonym of Samir al-Khalil). Her well-written, easily accessible yet sophisticated analysis of political language makes a major contribution to our understanding of contemporary Iraq."—Middle East Policy

"Anyone who doubts the corrupting effects of totalitarianism on political language—if such a person could exist at the end of our century of totalitarianisms—should read this book. Bengio . . . has compiled exhaustive evidence from the Iraqi sources to show how the Ba'thist regine in general and Saddam Hussein in particular have debased the political vocabulary of Iraq . . ."—Political Science Quarterly

"It is refreshing to read an English-language book on a Middle Eastern topic that relies largely on Arabic sources rather than Western or Israeli ones. The book is unique, delving into previously uncharted waters."—Perspectives on Political Science

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