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Some Books on the Iraq War and Related Topics

compiled by
John J. Fitzgerald

To understand what is going on with the Iraq War, it might be worthwhile to get a firm grounding on the Vietnam War which preceded it.

The best single book on the Vietnam War for a beginning student is:

Marvin E. Gettleman; Jane Franklin; Marilyn B. Young and H. Bruce Franklin, editors. Vietnam and America, 2nd edition.  New York: Grove Press, 1995.

An excellent collection of documents and a basic reference for understanding the war in Vietnam.

A shorter work intended for middle/high school level readers and up is:

Marilyn B. Young, John J. Fitzgerald and A. Tom Grunfeld, editors. TheVietnam War:  A History in Documents.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2002.

This book is recommended for use with younger students, community groups and military personnel. It is a brief, but comprehensive examination of the war by way of official documents, photographs, letters, cartoons and maps, with excellent references for further reading.

Books on American Foreign Policy:

William Blum. The CIA:  A Forgotten History.  London:  Zed Books, 1986.

An early path breaking history of the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency around the world.

Stephen Kinzer.  Overthrow:  America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.  New York:  Times Books, 2006.

This book provides a fine summary in one volume of the major actions of the United States in overthrowing the governments of various “enemy” nations throughout the 20th Century. Contains excellent source notes and an extensive bibliography.

John Nichols, editor.  Against The Beast:  A Documentary History of  American Opposition to Empire.  New York:  Nation Books, 2004.

This book is an excellent collection of speeches, documents, poems, letters to the editor by Americans who opposed the imperial policies of their day. An excellent reminder of the full dimension of patriotism drawn from the American past.

Kermit Roosevelt.  Countercoup:  The Struggle for the Control of Iran. New York:  McGraw-Hill, 1979.

This book is the inside story of how the CIA overthrew the government of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Kermit Roosevelt, a CIA agent, was the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. His memoir defends the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran and the re-installation of the Shah and his installation of an authoritarian regime backed by the United States and the United Kingdom. An excellent example of the politics of oil at work.

Books on the Iraq War:     


Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar, editors.  The Middle East and Islamic World Reader.  New York:  Grove Press, 2003.

Excellent collection of documents that begins with the rise of Islam, Ottoman Empire, European Imperialism, World Wars, Oil , Zionism and the American role in the area since 1945. Maps, Glossary, Bibliography and a fine index.

Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, editors.  The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents and Opinions.  New York:  Touchstone, 2003.

Excellent collection of documents with a focus on events since the First Gulf War. This collection is valuable in that it locates in one place almost all of the opinions and discussions that led up to the war in 2003.


Anthony Arnove.  Iraq:  The Logic of Withdrawal.  New York:  The New Press,  2006.

A well researched and well documented argument for an end to the Bush/Cheney policy of American occupation of Iraq. It calls for an immediate and total withdrawal of American  military forces from Iraq. Contains 35 pages of notes to sources.

Peter W. Galbraith.  The End of Iraq:  How American Incompetence Created a War Without End.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2006. 

Galbraith examines the consequences of the American invasion and the deadly realities of the American occupation of Iraq. It reads like an autopsy of failure. He recommends withdrawal from Iraq.

Christopher Scheer, Robert Scheer, and Lakshmi Chaudry.  The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq.  New York:  Akashic Books and Seven Stories Press, 2003.

The five biggest lies include:  Al Qaeda’s Ties to Iraq, Iraq’s Chemical and Biological Weapons, Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons, The War as a “Cakewalk,”and Iraq as a Democratic Model.  An analysis of the lies of the Bush/Cheney administration.