The Iraq War
A Documentary and Reference Guide
by Thomas R. Mockaitis
August 2012, 345pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34387-2
$121, £94, 106€, A166
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34388-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Shock and awe. Mission accomplished. Abu Ghraib. Saddam Hussein’s capture. Nonexistent WMDs. The drama of the Iraq War has unfolded with twists and turns that have reshaped our interpretation of the conflict over time. But how will it ultimately be remembered? What will the contemporary media and the official government record tell historians looking for answers about the war?

Ideal for general readers as well as professionals conducting extensive research, this informative book offers a collection of documents on the origins and conduct of the Iraq War.

The Iraq War: A Documentary and Reference Guide gives readers the opportunity to investigate this costly and controversial conflict as professional researchers do—by looking closely at key samples of historical evidence. As readers will see, that evidence proves to be extraordinarily revealing about the drive to war, the course of the initial invasion, the counterinsurgency, the “surge,” and the continuing difficulties in unifying and stabilizing the country.

From relevant exchanges in the 2000 Bush/Gore debates to interviews with Saddam Hussein to the latest reorganization of the Coalition Provisional Authority, The Iraq War gives readers an insider’s view of the conflict’s key decisions and events. Each chapter brings together primary and secondary sources on an important phase of the war, with the author providing context, analysis, and insight from a historian’s perspective. The book also provides a solid framework for working with the documentary record—a particularly difficult task in this case, as so many vital sources will remain classified and inaccessible for years to come.


  • More than 100 excerpts of government documents, military briefings, Congressional reports, media articles, and more, all related to specific phases of the Iraq War
  • An introductory chapter on the processes and challenges of researching the historic record
  • Commentary in each chapter showing what can be interpreted from the collected sources
  • Sidebars offering biographical notes on key figures; explanations of key terms and concepts; accounts of international treaties, laws, and agreements, and background notes on historical events
Thomas R. Mockaitis, PhD, is professor of history at DePaul University, Chicago, IL. He earned his BA from Allegheny College and his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mockaitis has written several books and numerous articles on counterinsurgency, terrorism, and peace operations, including Praeger's The "New" Terrorism: Myths and Reality and Iraq and the Challenge of Counterinsurgency. He team-teaches counterterrorism courses for the Center for Civil-Military Relations at the Naval Post-Graduate School and is a frequent media commentator.


"Greenwood’s documentary and reference series of books contain background on many major political and cultural issues currently debated in the U.S. If all are as good as the one on the Iraq War edited by Thomas R. Mocktaitis, they have a winning series useful in most academic libraries."—Reference Reviews, August 26, 2013

"The work rises to the challenge of covering the events in a factual, unbiased manner. . . . Recommended for most libraries as a good, neutral source on a timely topic."—Booklist, January 1, 2013

"Mockaitis’s excellent source of information on this long conflict is highly recommended for high school, public, and academic libraries supporting history or political science programs."—Library Journal, November 1, 2012

"Represents an easily accessible starting point for primary source documents useful for research into the origins and issues of the Iraq War. Recommended."—Choice, January 1, 2013

Documentary and Reference Guides

Expertly chosen primary source documents, analytical commentary, and comprehensive study resources present Americans grappling directly with complex social and political issues in ways that have had a deep and lasting impact on contemporary society.

Students often are unaware that hotly contested public debates have deep historical roots. Intended to allow readers to engage with history and discover the development of controversial social and political issues over time, the Documentary and Reference Guides series introduces such issues through carefully chosen primary source documents.

The documents analyzed in these volumes encourage critical thinking, offering fresh perspectives as they sweep away preconceptions and restore immediacy to debates that may have become stale. They encourage students to explore for themselves how important issues came to be framed as they are and to consider how contemporary discussion might advance beyond the assumptions and hardened positions of the past.


  • 50–100 primary source documents, topically and chronologically organized, including excerpts from legislation, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, manifestos, broadcast statements, such controversial writings as Thomas Paine's pamphlets and excerpts from the Federalist Papers, and personal writings, such as letters
  • 15–25 photographs
  • Accessible analysis sections and lively sidebars illuminating documents that are crucial to the subject, but relatively legalistic or technical
  • A Reader's Guide to the Documents and Sidebars, organized by subject, to enable readers to pursue particular lines of inquiry through more than one chapter
  • A comprehensive, annotated, general resources section supporting student research needs
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