Tripp, who has edited books and written chapters on the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War, and Middle Eastern international politics, has now produced a political history of Iraq. His introductory chapter on the Ottoman period is followed by chronological coverage from Mandate days to the present. Tripp offers a very readable account that presents the many different political figures, the ebb and flow of central government relations with Kurds and Shiiites, and the ongoing regional and international context. The book's most compelling part covers Saddam Hussein's rule from the late 1960s to the present. It offers no surprises in its interpretation but remains useful as an up-to-date history. It demonstrates inter alia that the world could and should have known what it was dealing with in Saddam Hussein -- well before Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.