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Smith on AAUP’s "Iraq book list"

jacket imageSince Iraq continues to be the daily focus of international news, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has just announced the timely release of an updated and revised version of its "Iraq book list" at Books for Understanding. The comprehensive list "guides journalists, librarians, and other researchers to the best scholarship now available."
Included on this list is Philip Smith’s new book, Why War?: The Cultural Logic of Iraq, the Gulf War, and Suez. Comprised of case studies of the War in Iraq, the Gulf War, and the Suez Crisis, Why War? decodes the cultural logic of the narratives that justify military action. Each nation, Smith argues, makes use of binary codes—good and evil, sacred and profane, rational and irrational, to name a few. These codes, in the hands of political leaders, activists, and the media, are deployed within four different types of narratives—mundane, tragic, romantic, or apocalyptic. With this cultural system, Smith is able to radically recast our "war stories" and show how nations can have vastly different understandings of crises as each identifies the relevant protagonists and antagonists, objects of struggle, and threats and dangers.
Read an excerpt.
View the AAUP’s Iraq book list.