IRAQ by Susan M. Hassig


Age Range: 10 & up
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 One of six new volumes in the ``Cultures of the World'' series, a fairly detailed look at contemporary Iraq and its past. Commendably, Hassig observes that ``Unlike their president, the people of Iraq are good-natured, loyal and trustworthy,'' urging readers ``to disregard the media images displaying an evil nation.'' Tracing Iraq's illustrious history from biblical times (Noah's survival is still celebrated there), she depicts a land that has had frequent invasions and changes of rulers, leaving a conflicting brew of peoples and religions. In light of this, her upbeat portrait of Iraqi society today has to be simplified; still, she does a good job of making the culture interesting: arts, customs, education, food, sports, women's marginally changing role, etc. Saddam Hussein is clearly a villain who has studied Hitler and Stalin; the war's impact, though mentioned in several contexts, emerges less clearly--the implication is that Iraq is essentially the same as before. Nonetheless, a sympathetic and interesting portrayal, providing useful background information relevant to such thorny ongoing issues as the Kurds' battle for autonomy and the conflict between Shiite and Sunni Moslems. There is some repetition, suiting the book for reference but annoying in a read through. Many attractive color photos; glossary; scant bibliography (three of the four books are about the gulf war); index. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-85435-533-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992