In This Review

Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein
Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein
By Andrew and Patrick Cockburn
Harpercollins, 1999, 322 pp

This account of how Saddam Hussein snatched survival from the jaws of defeat makes for compelling, if depressing, reading. Digging out the news behind the news -- the brutal modus operandi of Saddam Hussein's ruling clique, the misadventures of American and other intelligence operatives on the ground, the unscom personnel in action, and the weak and divided Iraqi opposition groups -- the Cockburns reconstruct how decisions were made and carried out in Baghdad, Washington, New York, and elsewhere. Their account rings true, relying on interviews with Iraqi exiles and defectors, U.S. intelligence officers, and many others, and the authors thoroughly plumb published sources. Unfortunately, however, they often give no source to support their findings. Those banking on covert action to compensate for unworkable overt policies will find slight solace in this book.