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An Award-Winning Look at Iraq

When Economics Associate Professor Frank Gunter was getting off the plane in Iraq in 2005, he was already well informed about the country’s turbulent recent history. As an advisor to military leaders, he had examined “several hundred books, journal articles, and research studies on the post-1955 political-economy of Iraq.”


“What I wasn't able to find was a single recent work that attempted to provide an integrated study of the entire political-economy,” he explained later, as the reason he wrote his own book about the modern challenges Iraq faces after enduring decades of war and internal upheaval. “The Political Economy of Iraq: Restoring Balance in a Post-Conflict Society” is the result of Gunter’s efforts to write the book that he wished he had been able to read before going to Iraq.

A review of Gunter’s book in the October 2013 issue of Choice Magazine calls it “the definitive account in English of the contemporary Iraqi economy. The scope of coverage and degree of detail is matched by clear exposition and thoughtful analysis. Summing up: Essential.”


After its publication in May 2013, Choice chose Gunter’s book as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013 in its Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, based on the best reviewed titles of the year. Choice is widely read by academic librarians in the U.S. The article listing the award winners appears in the January 2014 issue.

 Rather than producing a tome meant for his own academic colleagues, Gunter went to work on “The Political Economy of Iraq” keeping in mind “the intelligent laymen and women that I worked with for a total of twenty-five months in Iraq.” He needed a work that would “describe, analyze, and make policy recommendations for almost the entire political-economy of Iraq,” he wrote.

Gunter, part of the Lehigh faculty since 1983 and a Senior Fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, is also a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Colonel. He was mobilized after 9/11 to command a 6,000-Marine and Sailor combined arms training exercise. Gunter was also the Senior Civilian Economics Advisor for Multi-National Corps – Iraq at Camp Victory from July 2008 to July 2009. Gunter dedicated his book to “the men and women of five nations who served” in Iraq.

 “The Political Economy of Iraq” will be part of an exhibit of all the Outstanding Academic Title winners at the American Library Association’s Mid-winter Conference later in January.

Frank Gunter teaches a relatively new course at Lehigh, “The Political-Economy of Iraq,” as well as the foundation course “Principles of Economics” and the upper level courses Economic Development and the Political-Economy of China. He has won multiple awards for teaching excellence. His research efforts include the economics of entrepreneurship, corruption, capital flight, microfinance, and economic development during conflict. In addition to Iraq, he has published research on the People’s Republic of China, Colombia and Latvia.

Manasee Mannickarottu
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