William R. Polk: Understanding Iraq

ISBN: 1-84511-123-0 (Amazon)

For its little over 200 pages, a very deep and dense work. Ancient history of Iraq illuminated; especially, the concept of lugal is a seldom mentioned key to understanding the historical undercurrents in the Mesopotamian societies. All other epochs are well represented: pre-Islamic, Islamic/Sunni/Shiite, Mongol, Ottoman, British Mandate, etc. Also, the author was present in the period between the Hashemites and Saddam Hussein, which is almost forgotten today. The book ends around the year 2004.