Steve McGiffen


Not so long ago, Syria, Iraq and Libya were peaceful if repressive countries. Now each has descended into war, while the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa is racked by instability and violence. This has largely been brought about by western interventions which were either ill-considered or ill-motivated. Patrick Cockburn’s book covers the whole of the century up to 2015, during which he has somehow survived as a Middle East correspondent for the (UK) Independent newspaper. This is a horrifying yet gripping account of those years, made up of his on-the-spot reports from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, sewn together by later observations on the way events have unfolded since. Unreservedly recommended for any student of the MENA region or of why wars happen.