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Patrick Cockburn's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Patrick Cockburn recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Patrick Cockburn's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Years ago, noting that Kurds—the largest ethnic group in the world without their own country—were involved in every major story he covered in Iran, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq, veteran reporter Jonathan Randal decided to produce this first-hand report on Kurdistan, a shocking, tragic account of diplomacy and politics in the Middle East, and a gripping adventure story about being a war reporter in the 1990s.Throughout the Kurds' history, world powers have promised to help them achieve autonomy, and each time the Kurds have been betrayed. But they are also masters of betrayal: Randal,... more
Recommended by Patrick Cockburn, and 1 others.

Patrick CockburnIt is an excellent book about the Kurds. The permanent dissidence of the Kurds is right at the heart of Iraqi politics. (Source)

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Nir Rosen’s Aftermath, an extraordinary feat of reporting, follows the contagious spread of radicalism and sectarian violence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ensuing civil war have unleashed in the Muslim world.


Rosen—who the Weekly Standard once bitterly complained has “great access to the Baathists and jihadists who make up the Iraqi insurgency”— has spent nearly a decade among warriors and militants who have been challenging American power in the Muslim world. In Aftermath, he tells their story, showing the other side of the U.S. war on...
Recommended by Patrick Cockburn, and 1 others.

Patrick CockburnIt gives one of the best summaries of what happened during the US occupation in the surge, and is very up to date and well worth reading. (Source)

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This comparative study analyses the traditional elite of Iraq and their successors – the Communists, the Ba’thists and Free Officers – in terms of social and economic relationships in each area of the country. The author draws on secret government documents and interviews with key figures, both in power and in prison, to produce an engrossing story of political struggle and change.

Hanna Batatu was born in 1926 in Jerusalem. He immigrated to the United States in 1948, receiving his PhD from Harvard University in 1960. Apart from research fellowships at Harvard, MIT, and...
Recommended by Patrick Cockburn, Kanan Makiya, and 2 others.

Patrick CockburnBatatu was the great Iraqi historian – a man of perception and gigantic knowledge of the social, sectarian and ethnic background in Iraq. (Source)

Kanan MakiyaThis book is over 1,000 pages and took Batatu over 20 years to write. It is based on primary sources that had never been accessible before. (Source)

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This is the Story of The American Military Adventure in Iraq. The Heart of the story Fiasco has to tell, which has never been told before, is that of a Military occupation whose leaders failed to see a blooming insurgency for what it was and as a result lead their soldiers in such a way that the insurgency became inevitable. less

Patrick CockburnWhen you read about Iraq, you need to know that it is a country more divided than almost anywhere else in the world. (Source)

Bryan Callen[Bryan Callen recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Jeremy GreenstockRicks writes fluently and eloquently. His book shows what the Americans thought about Iraq, and what they thought the Iraqis thought. (Source)

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Involved for over thirty years in the politics of Iraq, Ali A. Allawi was a long-time opposition leader against the Baathist regime. In the post-Saddam years he has held important government positions and participated in crucial national decisions and events. In this book, the former Minister of Defense and Finance draws on his unique personal experience, extensive relationships with members of the main political groups and parties in Iraq, and deep understanding of the history and society of his country to answer the baffling questions that persist about its current crises. What really led... more
Recommended by Patrick Cockburn, and 1 others.

Patrick CockburnAli A Allawi combines the rigour of an historian with the knowledge of a senior politician in one of the first governments in Iraq. (Source)

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