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Since 2003, Iraq has rarely left the headlines. But less discussed is the fact that Iraq as we know it was created by the British, in one of the most dramatic interventions in recent history. A cautious strategic invasion by British forces led - within seven years - to imperial expansion on a dizzying scale, with fateful consequences for the Middle East and the world. In When God Made Hell, Charles Townshend charts Britain's path from one of its worst military disasters to extraordinary success with largely unintended consequences, through overconfidence, incompetence and dangerously vague policy. With monumental research and exceptionally vivid accounts of on-the-ground warfare, this a truly gripping account of the Mesopotamia campaign, and its place in the wider political and international context. For anyone seeking to understand the roots of British involvement in Iraq, it is essential reading.

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