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Saddam Hussein

A Political Biography


Efraim Karsh (View Bio)
Hardcover: The Free Press, 1991; Paperback: Grove/Atlantic, 2003.

Saddam Hussein

Co-authored with Inari Rautsi, this is a revised edition of the definitive biography of the Iraqi leader, originally published in 1991 to wide acclaim.

"The best book out now on a man who clearly is much more interesting and enigmatic than the cartoon figure we love to hate." — Los Angeles Times

"Probably the best biography of Saddam Hussein...presents a coherent view of a man who has generated a good deal of mythology." — BBC World Service

"One of the great virtues of the Karsh and Rautsi book...is that it captures so well not simply the consequences of the system of power, but also the social and moral worlds in which it exists and thrives.... To understand this process is to understand something not simply about the workings of Iraqi politics or the place of Iraq in the region, but also about security, instability and war in the Middle East as a whole. Karsh and Rautsi are to be congratulated for writing a book that is sensitive to these larger questions and provides the best and most serious analysis hitherto of the phenomenon of 'Saddamist' politics in Iraq." — Survival

"Of the several, increasingly numerous, books that have appeared on Saddam Hussein and his Iraq, the political biography by Karsh and Rautsi is the best so far produced. It is not just that it is a solid, detailed, and comprehensive piece of work...it is, rather, the whole approach of the authors to their subject that gives the book its value." — Middle East International

"Karsh and Rautsi have set a standard for evidence and analytical rigor that other biographers will be hard-pressed to match.... Not only do the full documentation and precise style reflect a long investment in research and writing, but the authors have produced a subtle interpretation of Saddam, which casts him as a man forged by his society even as he sought to reforge it." — Newsday

"Dissects Saddam's career with surgical precision...what emerges is deviousness of a more than Stalinian subtlety...to be recommended as an accurate, even scholarly, account of the present situation in Iraq, as well as various times of the past — all the way back to the Babylonian captivity." — Anthony Burgess, The Observer

"At the very least the book is extremely readable account of Saddam's rise to international prominence. Without abandoning academic analysis the authors have succeeded in producing a work that can be read with pleasure by the interested 'layman'.... A timely and lucid assault on the distorted image we have formed in the West, of Iraq and its leader. This book deserves to be widely read, and might even help to set us back onto the path of attempting to understand rather than condemn the Arab states of the Middle East." — Small Wars and Insurgencies

"At last someone has produced a balanced, careful, academically sound but lively account of the man and his universe, without sliding into superficial sensationalism.... Karsh and Rautsi have written what will become a standard biography of Saddam Hussein." — International Affairs

"All such events have unequivocally proved the very scrupulous, accurate, and lucid explanations and elaborations that Efraim Karsh and Inari Rautsi have masterfully provided in this in-depth political biography of Saddam Hussein.ยท This is a first-rate biography of Saddam Hussein on many accounts.... This book gives the reader as sense that he is living in the mind of Saddam Hussein and in his surrounding atmosphere.... This is an authoritative biography that should be read by every scholar interested in the contemporary history of Iraq and its role in shaping the geopolitical equation in the whole Middle Eastern region. The fluent, lucid, and colorful language in which the book is written must be commended." — Political Science Quarterly

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