The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia

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9780810958722: The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia
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In April of 2003, the world reacted in shock at the news of the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. Priceless antiquities, spanning ten thousand years of human history, were smashed into pieces or stolen, and one of the most important storehouses of ancient culture was forever compromised. This exquisitely illustrated volume is a reconstruction in book form of one of the world's great museums, and it stands as the definitive single-volume history of the art and archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia-the cradle of civilization.
The contributors to this book consist of a cadre of international archaeologists whose excavations helped piece together the rich tapestry of Mesopotamian life from earliest prehistory to the advent of Islam. A portion of the book's royalties will aid in the reconstruction of the museum and in the preservation of Mesopotamia's cultural treasures. Told through the art and artifacts that were lost recently in Iraq, this fascinating history of the civilizations of the Near East is sure to be a timeless and enduring book.

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Review:

At once heartbreaking and inspiring, this remarkable art book seeks to document what was lost when 15,000 objects at Baghdad's Iraq Museum were lost in the 2003 war and the ongoing art destruction. Treasures like the beautiful carved-ivory Mona Lisa of Nimrud survived ten centuries, only to fall victim to chaos and looters, some sent by international art dealers. The scholar authors show that the loss isn't local, it's everybody's. Iraq saw the birth of cities, epic verse, and codified religion; the lions guarding the New York Public Library are esthetic descendants of the smashed terracotta masterpieces of Baghdad. The book is a quickie history course, with 190 handsome color illustrations. Editorially, it's a bit rushed and confusing. But look: these aren't ivory-tower scholars, they're heroes putting themselves on the line to save humanity’s legacy. One had to be rescued from kidnappers with the help of Muqtada al-Sadr. Part of what you pay for the book goes to reconstruct the museum, and the book itself constitutes a kind of virtual museum preserving some works that are lost, and some that will be relocated, in part because it exists. --Tim Appelo

About the Author:

The numerous and illustrious contributors to the book make up a cadre of international archaeologists who spent years in Iraq excavating and piecing together the history of Mesopotamia, and who have been actively engaged in the preservation of Mesopotamia's - and humanity's - greatest cultural treasures. Among them are photojournalists, writers, editors, professors, archaeologists, curators, museum directors and architects.

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