To understand Iraq, Charles Tripp's history is the book to read. Since its first appearance in 2000, it has become a classic in the field of Middle East studies, read and admired by students, soldiers, policymakers and journalists. The book is now updated to include the recent American invasion, the fall and capture of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent descent into civil strife. What is clear is that much that has happened since 2003 was foreshadowed in the account found in this book. Tripp's thesis is that the history of Iraq throughout the twentieth-century has made it what it is today, but also provides alternative futures. Unless this is properly understood, many of the themes explored in this book - patron-client relations, organized violence, sectarian, ethnic and tribal difference - will continue to exert a hold over the future of Iraq as they did over its past.