Non-Fiction Books:


Britain's War in Iraq



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Blunder by Patrick Porter
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This book is the first "post Chilcot" history of Britain's decision to go to war in Iraq in March 2003. Deploying the large number of primary documents and retrospective testimonies of participants, Blunder reconstructs the assumptions underlying decisions, the policy 'world' that participants inhabited 2001-2003, and the way decisions were made. Contrary to much of the existing literature, this book puts ideas in the centre of the story. As the book argues, Britain's war in Iraq was caused by bad ideas that were dogmatically held. Three ideas in particular formed the war's intellectual foundations: the notion of the undeterrable, fanatical rogue state; the vision that the West's path to security is to break and remake states; and the conceit that by paying the "blood price", Britain could secure influence in Washington DC. Beyond fixations with "dodgy dossiers", the flaws of individual leaders or intelligence failure, Iraq was a real ideological crusade, made by people who were true believers. These issues matter, because although the Iraq war happened fifteen years ago, it is still with us. As well as its severe consequences for regional and international security, the ideas that powered the war persist in western security debate. If all wars are fought twice, first on the battlefield and the second time in memory, this book enters the battle over what Iraq means now, and what we should learn.

Author Biography

Patrick Porter is Professor International Security and Strategy at the University of Birmingham. He is Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). His main research interests are U.S. and British grand strategy, the interaction of power and ideas in international relations, and diplomatic and military history. He has published in International Security, War in History and The Journal of Strategic Studies. He grew up in Melbourne, Australia, before completing his doctorate at the University of Oxford. He enjoys ancient history, cricket and cigars.
Release date NZ
November 22nd, 2018
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Oxford University Press
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