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Extended Audio Sample Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq, by Patrick Cockburn Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (21 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick Cockburn Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Whatever else the United States intended when it invaded Iraq in the spring of 2003, it was not to hand the country over to a thirty-two-year-old militant cleric who fought against their presence from the start and whom former Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer III described as a “Bolshevik Islamist.” Yet as the occupation steadily disintegrates, the likelihood grows ever stronger that Muqtada al-Sadr, the black-turbaned leader of Iraq’s poor Shiites, will take power when the Americans finally leave.

In this compelling and narrative-driven account, Patrick Cockburn, one of the bravest and most experienced correspondents reporting from the war, tells the story of Muqtada and his extraordinary rise to become what Canadian journalist Naomi Klein described as “the single greatest threat to US military and economic control of Iraq.” In these pages, Cockburn looks at the young cleric’s family background, in particular the assassination of his father and two brothers by Saddam’s hit men, his leadership of the 70,000-strong Mahdi army, the links between his movement Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iranian leadership, and his frequent confrontations with the American military, including the pitched battle in the cemetery of Najaf and the recent mass demonstrations demanding an end to the occupation.

This is no dry, academic treatise. Cockburn’s account draws on dramatic, firsthand dealings with the Mahdi army, including a tense encounter at a roadblock outside Najaf in which he was nearly killed. However, although it often reads like an adventure story, Muqtada provides a vital analysis of a movement that will be critical to the future of Iraq after the Americans leave.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Authoritative…Americans need to learn more about [Muqtada al-Sadr], and Cockburn’s empathetic, insightful study is a good place to start.”

    Washington Post

  • “This probing look at a singularly divisive, undoubtedly important figure makes an invaluable resource for anyone weighing US policy in Iraq.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Leo Africanus | 1/19/2013

    " A masterclass in non-fiction. A totally absorbing analysis of post-Saddam Iraq. One of the few, and perhaps only, successful attempts to offer in-depth coverage of intra-Shia politics amidst the maelstrom of tribal, religious, sectarian and nationalist affiliations that plague modern Iraq. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mustafa | 4/30/2011

    " Very readable (and quite sympathetic) account of the politics of the Iraqi Shia community under Saddam and after his overthrow. Demystified the rise of Muqtada al-Sadr after the fall of Saddam and much improved my understanding of who his constituents were. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Karen | 3/17/2010

    " Not just about Muqtada Al-Sadr but a good way to get some more information on the background to Iraq's recent history and understand why there are no easy solutions. Well written for a wide market. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mustafa | 1/19/2010

    " Very readable (and quite sympathetic) account of the politics of the Iraqi Shia community under Saddam and after his overthrow. Demystified the rise of Muqtada al-Sadr after the fall of Saddam and much improved my understanding of who his constituents were. "

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About the Author

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the Independent, has been visiting Iraq since 1978. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. He is the author of The Broken Boy, a memoir, and, together with Andrew Cockburn, Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession.