The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia Hardcover – May 1 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
As Baghdad fell in the spring of 2003, the thin deployment of coalition forces, it was said, made it impossible to protect cultural sites-which were immediately stripped-despite a legal obligation to preserve them. This book records the enormous, devastating losses (more than 15,000 pieces, only half of which have been recovered) of a major world museum, one that much of the world never had a chance to discover. Over 12 chapters, varied contributors lightly detail the depth and breadth of the collection, presenting highlights in 284 illustrations (most in color) from the collection as it was, with some asides about pieces that have been "reported missing" or are otherwise no longer there. Yet the text accompanying these abundant photos feels thin. A seven-page history of the museum is barely informative; the seven pages on "The Ravages of War and the Challenge of Reconstruction" feel woefully inadequate for a book of this title. With its lack of a unified perspective and the inclusion of previously published material, the book has a quickly-stitched-together feel. A percentage of the book's sales will be donated to the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage; the director of the Iraq Museum, Dr. Donny George, will tour the U.S. in June.
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After the Iraq Museum was looted in April 2003, a remarkable group of historians, archaeologists, and curators created a "virtual" version of "one of the greatest collections of cultural treasures in our world" so that not all would be lost. The museum contained thousands of artifacts created in the cradle of civilization over the course of 10,000 years, including the earliest known forms of pottery, jewelry, clay figurines, carved statues, bas-relief carvings, and clay tablets. Fortunately these exquisite and historically invaluable ancient objects had been carefully photographed and cataloged before the catastrophic looting, enabling the editors to richly illustrate more than a dozen fresh, incisive essays covering the dramatic history of the region up to the present, and the development and preservation of its arts. A movement to rehabilitate the Iraq Museum and its precious holdings is under way, an effort that sales of this finely produced, sensitive, and illuminating volume will support. Testimony to humankind's capacity for creativity and destruction, this unique project began in chaos and despair, and became a vehicle for hope and restoration. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Beautifully designed and expertly written, this is a must for lovers of history and those with an interest in the cultural background of Iraq. Highly recommended.
This fine book provides many illustrations of the collection of the Iraq Museum and with that, naturally, comes a timeline of civilization as we know it. The treasures are/were wondrous and the history as summarized by Milbry and William Polk, Selma Al-Radi, Angela Schuster, Zainab Bahrani, Usam Ghaidan, Anna Paolini, and Donny George in their fine essays should be required reading for all of us.
This fine and beautifully designed book marks a sad moment in our history, but it also provides an invaluable resource guide for those interested in the cradle of civilization that was Mesopotamia - aka Iraq! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
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