The Achilles Trap Saddam Hussein, the United States and the Middle East, 1979-2003

Hardback (27 Feb 2024)

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Publisher's Synopsis

From the Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of Ghost Wars, the inside story of America's long and ruinous relationship with Saddam Hussein

The Achilles Trap masterfully untangles the people, ploys of power and geopolitics that led to America's disastrous war with Iraq and, for the first time, details America's fundamental miscalculations during its ruinous, decades-long relationship with Saddam Hussein.

Beginning with Saddam's rise to power in 1979 and the birth of Iraq's secret nuclear weapons programme, Steve Coll traces Saddam's motives through understanding his inner circle. He brings to life the diplomats, scientists, family members and generals who had no choice but to defer to their leader - a leader directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, as well as the torture or imprisonment of many more. This was a man whose reasoning was impossible to reduce to a simple explanation, and the CIA and successive presidential administrations failed to grasp critical nuances in his paranoia, resentments and inconsistencies - even when the stakes were incredibly high.

Using unpublished and underreported sources, interviews with surviving participants, and Saddam's own transcripts and audio files, The Achilles Trap is a remarkable picture of a dictator who was convinced the world was out to get him and acted accordingly. A work of great historical significance, it is the definitive account of how corruptions of power, lies of diplomacy and vanity - on both sides - led to avoidable errors of statecraft: ones that would enact immeasurable human suffering and forever change our political landscape.

Book information

ISBN: 9780241686652
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Allen Lane
Pub date:
DEWEY: 956.70443
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 4267
Number of pages: 576
Weight: 980g
Height: 240mm
Width: 163mm
Spine width: 35mm