Rare Guide to Iraq

[Persia and Iraq Force - Paiforce]. Services Guide to Iraq.

No place or date [but Iraq, likely Baghdad , Paiforce G.H.Q. Welfare Committee, ca. 1942].

12mo. 46, (2) pp. (ads). With full-page maps of Iraq and Baghdad and map of Baghdad amenities area on back cover. Original illustrated wrappers, stapled.


First edition. An extremely rare guide to Iraq, produced for members of Paiforce (Persia and Iraq Force). It covers the expected subjects of health, hostels, clubs, sports and tours but also aims to instill a degree of cultural and historical awareness, principally with Seton Lloyd's short history of the country. Lloyd was the curator of the Baghdad Museum at the time, an institution mentioned in the guide as home to "astonishingly beautiful specimens of early Sumerian art, and the whole of Iraq's history ... within well laid out rooms" (p. 23).

Less routine sections highlight Trunk Call (the Paiforce paper) and list Christian churches in Iraq and Bahrain. The advertisements, acting as front and rear endpapers, give a sense of the establishments catering to the troops, including an advert for a shopping centre belonging to the Hasso Brothers, who issued many fascinating photographic postcards of Iraq.

A few small stains to wrappers, a little dusty, otherwise very good. Rare, with no copies in Copac/Jisc or OCLC. We have only been able to trace one example, located at the Imperial War Museum.