This book is the first authoritative and up-to-date survey of the history of Iraq from earliest times to the present in any language. It presents a concise narrative of the rich and varied history of this land, drawing on political, social, economic, artistic, technological, and intellectual material. It also includes excerpts from works of ancient, medieval, and modern literature written in Iraq, some of which are translated for the first time into English. The final chapters provide an introduction to the history of archaeology in Iraq, set in the wider context of the development of archaeology into a scientific discipline. A special section highlights selected objects from the Iraq Museum, with emphasis on their cultural significance and current status in the aftermath of the looting in April 2003. The last chapter offers a unique guide to the complex international and national legal regimes for the protection of cultural heritage. The American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq are a turning point in Iraq's modern history, with important cultural consequences for all periods of its past. For all who seek to understand more fully the current situation, this book includes discussion of cultural and legal issues of the war and occupation, placing recent events in their full context.