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Republic of Fear:
Originally written under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil and published before the Gulf War, Republic of Fear describes the rise of Saddam Hussein and the Arab Ba'th Socialist party. The author, an Iraqi expatriate now living in the United States, offers this updated edition under his real name, Kanan Makiya. A new introduction discusses events following the invasion of Kuwait ("the chamber of horrors that is Saddam Hussein's Iraq has grown into something that not even the most morbid imagination could have dreamed up"). The book is not merely a chronicle of recent Iraqi politics, but a discussion of why the country has evolved into "a Kafkaesque world ... one ruled and held together by fear." Essential reading for anybody who wants to understand modern Iraq. --John J. Miller [via]