Peter W. Galbraith's Top Book Recommendations

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

The dramatic story of the Kurds and their quest to create a nation—essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the turmoil in Iraq will play out.

The American invasion of Iraq has been a success for one group: the Kurds. For centuries they have yearned for official statehood—and now, as one of the accidental outcomes of the invasion, the United States may have helped them take a big step toward that goal. Informed by his deep knowledge of the people and region, Quil Lawrence's intimate and unflinching portrait of the Kurds and their heretofore...
Recommended by Peter W. Galbraith, and 1 others.

Peter W. GalbraithLawrence is an NPR reporter who spent a lot of time in Iraq and the Middle East. It’s a reporter’s account of his interaction with the Kurds and their struggle for an independent homeland. He gets a huge part of the story right and he really understands that what the Kurds always wanted is independence. (Source)

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A Modern History of the Kurds

The division of the Kurdish people among four modern nation states--Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran--and their struggle for national rights have been constant themes of recent Middle East history. The Kurdish lands have been contested territory for many centuries. In this detailed history of the Kurds from the 19th century to the present day, McDowall examines the interplay of old and new aspects of the struggle, the importance of local rivalries within Kurdish society, the enduring authority of certain forms of leadership and the failure of modern states to respond to the challenge of Kurdish... more
Recommended by Peter W. Galbraith, and 1 others.

Peter W. GalbraithThis is one of the textbook-type histories of the Kurds written by a historian. It’s a very good book for somebody who wants a fairly comprehensive survey of Kurdish history. One of the disadvantages of not having your own country is that you don’t have the archives and scholarship to write your own histories. There are not many surveys to choose from. This is one of the few, and it’s quite good. (Source)

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Recommended by Peter W. Galbraith, and 1 others.

Peter W. GalbraithThis is a book by Ariel Sabar, whose family came from Iraqi Kurdistan. The Jewish population of Iraq with very large in 1940; a quarter of Baghdad’s population was Jewish. But the partition of Palestine sparked increased repression of Jews in the region and led to a mass exodus of Jews from Iraq, including the author’s father. In the Arab parts of Iraq, Jews were fired from their jobs, had their... (Source)

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Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning analysis of America's repeated failure to stop genocides around the world

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning examination of the last century of American history, Samantha Power asks the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to stop genocide? Power, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations, draws upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policymakers, thousands of declassified documents, and her own reporting from modern...

Steve CrawshawWhen Power was writing, the Rwandan genocide had already happened, but Darfur was still to come. The sub-title of her book is ‘America and the age of genocide’, and she started work expecting to investigate how American foreign policy had coped so badly. Terrible events, including the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey early in the 20th century, and Pol Pot’s mass killings in Cambodia 60 years... (Source)

Norman NaimarkThis was an extremely important and timely book in calling attention to the deep-seated hypocrisy that lay at the heart of American policies when facing genocide over the past century. Power’s criticism of the devastating combination of American timidity and wishful thinking in face of mass killing, especially in the mid-1990s in Bosnia and Rwanda, is palpable throughout the book. Through... (Source)

Peter W. GalbraithSamantha Power first came to the public notice for her work on the American response to genocide in Bosnia, or to be more precise, the lack thereof. The title, A Problem From Hell is a quote from Secretary of State Warren Christopher’s congressional testimony about the situation in Bosnia, explaining why the United States couldn’t do anything to stop the genocide there. She was a young reporter... (Source)

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The Kurds, who number some 28 million people in the Middle East, have no country they can call their own. Long ignored by the West, Kurds are now highly visible actors on the world's political stage. More than half live in Turkey, where the Kurdish struggle has gained new strength and attention since the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq.

Essential to understanding modern-day Kurds--and their continuing demands for an independent state--is understanding the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party. A guerilla force that was founded in 1978 by a small group of ex-Turkish...

Elizabeth TsurkovReally enjoyed @AlizaMarcus' book on the PKK's founding, armed struggle and politics. A must-read for anyone interested in the PKK or wishes to understand the underpinnings of the Rojava project. (Source)

Peter W. GalbraithThis is by a wonderful journalist named Aliza Marcus. It’s an account of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, the most prominent Kurdish movement in Turkey and one of the most difficult for us to wrestle with. It’s the story of how a party founded in Turkey in 1978 has waged a 35 year insurrection against the Turkish state. The PKK was declared to be a terrorist organization by Turkey,... (Source)

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