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A Documentary History of Modern Iraq

Stacy E. Holden

Publication Year: 2012

Previously published histories and primary source collections on the Iraqi experience tend to be topically focused or dedicated to presenting a top-down approach. By contrast, Stacy Holden's A Documentary History of Modern Iraq gives voice to ordinary Iraqis, clarifying the experience of the Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Jews, and women over the past century.

Through varied documents ranging from short stories to treaties, political speeches to memoirs, and newspaper articles to book excerpts, the work synthesizes previously marginalized perspectives of minorities and women with the voices of the political elite to provide an integrated picture of political change from the Ottoman Empire in 1903 to the end of the second Bush administration in 2008. Covering a broad range of topics, this bottom-up approach allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the lives of everyday Iraqis as they navigate regime shifts from the British to the Hashemite monarchy, the political upheaval of the Persian Gulf wars, and beyond. Brief introductions to each excerpt provide context and suggest questions for classroom discussion.

This collection offers raw history, untainted and unfiltered by modern political framework and thought, representing a refreshing new approach to the study of Iraq.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-16

In 1903, a Baghdadi woman named Regina wed a local boy, and the story of their marriage begins this exploration of the history of Modern Iraq via primary source documents. Regina was a Jewish woman educated in a French school called the Alliance Israelite. She adhered to Western traditions, insisting, for...

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1. Ottoman Mesopotamia, 1903–1920

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pp. 17-52

In the early twentieth century, Iraq was not an independent state. Instead, the area of present-day Iraq consisted of three provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and this imperial polity had ruled over them for nearly four hundred years. The Ottoman Empire consisted of more than twenty million people in twenty-nine...

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2. The British Mandate, 1920–1932

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pp. 53-88

Though the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed on 11 November 1918, the postwar fate of Iraq would not be decided until spring 1920. During World War I, the British occupied the Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul. This area had historically been known as Mesopotamia, but the...

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3. The Hashemite Monarchy, 1932–1941

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pp. 89-124

In Iraq, the mandate system lasted only ten years. Negotiations for Iraqi independence began in 1929, and the discussions between British and Iraqi politicians led to the signing of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty Alliance in June 1930. Through this treaty, Great Britain maintained a neocolonial relationship with Iraq, meaning...

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4. Ending the Old Regime, 1941–1958

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pp. 125-159

The years between 1941 and 1958 are critical for understanding the coup of 1958 that put an end to the Hashemite monarchy. This period begins with a coup by Rashid Ali al-Kaylani on 10 April 1941, one that temporarily deposed the regent Abd al-Ilah. This abrupt change of a pro-British government—along with Rashid...

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5. The Revolutionary Era, 1958–1968

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pp. 160-192

In 1958, a coup d’état by Abd al-Karim Qasim felled the monarchy, and this would be the first of four coups in ten years. Qasim and his followers did not just change the cabinet; they violently overthrew the Hashemite monarchy. Qasim intended to bring about long overdue changes within Iraq, thereby helping...

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6. Consolidating Ba'thist Power, 1968–1979

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pp. 193-228

Iraq’s Arab Ba’th Socialist Party organized a coup d’état on 17 July 1968, replacing the government of Abd al-Rahman Arif. There are many factors that contributed to the Arif regime’s downfall. The government, for example, was fighting a war with Kurds in the north, and this destabilized the regime. Further, Arif had...

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7. The Iran-Iraq War, 1980–1990

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pp. 229-264

Saddam Hussein assumed the Ba’thist presidency in 1979, and within one year Iraq became embroiled in a cataclysmic conflict with neighboring Iran. In retrospect, the lead-up to the Iran-Iraq War actually began when two very different personalities assumed power in each combatant country. In Iraq, as already...

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8. The Persian Gulf War and Sanctions, 1990–2002

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pp. 265-299

On 2 August 1990, only two years after the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq invaded Kuwait with the intention of annexing this oil-rich country. Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to take over Kuwait for a number of reasons. First, Hussein was angered that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would not forgive the $60 billion debt...

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9. The Invasion of Iraq, 2001–2003

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pp. 300-335

President George W. Bush and most members of his administration strongly believed that Saddam Hussein should be overthrown in order to protect American interests. The events of September 11 and President Bush’s subsequent declaration of a “war on terror” provided an opportunity to advance this agenda. The...

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10.The Occupation of Iraq under the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003–2004

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pp. 336-372

Once the Coalition invaded Iraq, the United States expressed its intent to rule directly for a year. It did so first under the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), which was set up in mid-April. By mid-May, however, the United States replaced the ORHA with the Coalition Provisional...

Secondary Source Material

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pp. 373-374

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pp. 375-379

Many people and organizations contributed to this anthology, and I would like to thank them all. I was lucky enough to have two undergraduate and graduate research assistants, who made the process of collecting and editing these documents much easier. For this reason, I will begin my acknowledgment with thanks...


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pp. 381-397

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813043609
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813040165

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2012