Michael Rubin is the American Enterprise Institute Fellow and editor of the Middle East Quarterly. A few weeks ago the Quarterly posted Kenneth Stein’s essay “My problem with Jimmy Carter’s book” from the forthcoming Spring issue. Now the Quarterly has also posted Michael Rubin’s excellent review/essay on the spate of books covering the Iraq war. Michael writes:
There’s much to learn from the recent boom of Iraq books. Some discuss military lessons learned, explore Iraqi identity, address issues raised by embedding and, of course, seek to narrate what went wrong in the occupation. Still, quantity does not equal quality. When their sources and footnotes are checked, it is clear many authors sacrificed accuracy and integrity for style, sales, or pursuit of narrow agendas. Too many participants amplify narrow experiences into sweeping conclusions. Comparisons of their accounts show the authors to be like the blind men describing the elephant. I hope that this review/essay of 36 Iraq book, some popular and some relatively unknown, will help identify both what went right and wrong, and also identify those questions remaining unexplored.