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The Struggle for Iraq: A View From The Ground Up

Thomas M Renahan
The book is a personal memoir of an extraordinary period in Iraq's history. A period that has cost £2-3 trillion and hundreds of thousands of people killed or injured, allied losses were over 4,800 . The author arrived a few days from Saddam's capture and spent the next 12 years or so nation building , mentoring and consulting. His days saw everything from top level diplomacy to incoming mortar fire, he lost some of his personal staff and a lot of optimism along the way. The project to convince the Iraqis to welcome a parliamentary democracy seemed an aspirational one as the ISIS terrorists dreamed of a return to the Middle Ages.

The author has a long track record in American administration and government and with such a background the book is well researched , carefully annotated and indexed together with a helpful glossary. Maps are clear and relevant, illustrations are dispensed with. The book runs to 478 pages and is in broadly starts in chronological order with conclusions drawn therefrom.

The book is not a military account but it forms a useful addition to military histories of the time if trying to tease out the political inputs that were shaping military policy. Obviously the book is written from an American viewpoint and may take a rose tinted view of Iraqi gratitude at being invaded. The overthrow of Hussein and the precipitate disbandment of the Ba'athist led to a political, military and legal vacuum, within this whirlpool money spun, murder and violent crime sky rocketed and the administrators tried to impose some sort of order. The Allied and later Iraqi troops stood to the front and received little thanks.

The style of the book makes for slow applied reading but it has the value of being first hand experience and is well worth persevering with if one wishes to place the military events into a more coherent context

The book is priced at £22.33 on Amazon (Kindle £17.99) but there are some new copies from £15.73
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