David L. Phillips, director of the Program on Peacebuilding and Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, provides a political and diplomatic history of the once Kurd-dominated Kirkuk region of Iraq from the 1920s to the present day, a region at the heart of America’s foreign-policy priorities in the Middle East. In September 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan held an independence referendum, intended as a starting point for negotiations with the Iraqi government on the terms of a friendly divorce. Although the U.S., Turkey and Iran opposed it, the referendum passed with 93 percent of the vote. Iraq’s Prime Minister Heider al-Abadi refused to negotiate and then attacked the region. Phillips reveals the failings of America’s policies towards Kirkuk and the devastating effects of betraying an ally.