This is the tragic story of the short-lived Iraqi monarchy. The first king of Iraq, Faisal I, was installed by the British in 1921. Faisal, who had led the Arab Revolt and fought alongside T.E. Lawrence, was a major player in the politics of the Middle East. He was also, most importantly, pro-British and thus 'suitable' to lead an independent Iraq. His son and successor, Ghazi, a strong pan-Arab nationalist, felt very differently. He supported the first military coup in the Arab world and was said to hold German sympathies. Ghazi's suspicious death in a car accident left his son, also named Faisal, King at the age of four. So Iraq was ruled by his uncle, Abdulillah, as regent until the boy came of age. Iraq's artificially-imposed monarchy came to an abrupt and bloody end in July 1958 when Faisal II and Abdulillah, along with the Prime Minister, Nuri al Said, and many members of Faisal's family, were gunned down and the country was declared a republic. "Three Kings in Baghdad" is a unique and timely account of this portentous moment in Iraq's history.
Gerald de Gaury, 1897-1984, was one of the great British travellers in Arabia and an expert on the Middle East. He joined the British army at the outbreak of World War I and served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front for which he was awarded the Military Cross. After the war he became British Political Agent in Kuwait and was later special emissary to King Ibn Saud and special Charge d'Affaires with the Regent of Iraq. In addition to being a soldier and a diplomat, he wrote a biography on Alexander Kinglake, a modern history of Israel and several travel books on the Middle East - now classics - including 'Arabia Phoenix', 'Arabian Journey' and 'Rulers of Mecca'.