Faisal I of Iraq22 Jan 2018
In February Yale University Press published Visiting Professor Ali Allawi’s detailed biography, Faisal I of Iraq. This revisionist history of modern Iraq’s first king (r. 1921-33) is the first to give a proper evaluation of Faisal’s contributions to Middle Eastern history. It is the first contemporary biography of a figure who had played a seminal role in the founding of the state of Iraq and the making of the modern Middle East, Allawi hopes that his book will provide a better understanding of the fall of the Ottoman empire, World War I and the establishment of the modern Arab states of the Middle East. Allawi rejects the conventional portrayal of Faisal as a British puppet, and sees him as a statesman and nation-builder. He argues that Faisal was the real maker of modern Iraq and portrays him as a convincing multi-dimensional figure, although he became more autocratic towards the end of his reign.