On the eve of war, historian Dan Cruickshank flies into Baghdad –his mission: to reveal the wonders of the ancient world that gave birth to modern civilisation. What we know as Iraq today is ancient Mesopotamia. Enclosed by the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, this land was once home to the great civilisations of the Bible –the Babylonians, the warlike Assyrians and the Sumarians who invented the wheel, mathematics and gave us the modern city. As American and British fighter jets sweep overhead, Cruickshank reveals wonders unseen by the West for almost 30 years –Babylon, Nineveh, the Tower of Babel– and finally the site reputed to be the Garden of Eden itself, in the southernmost trip of Iraq and the front line in any future war. Saddam is never far away and at Babylon his “rebuilding” work may have done more damage that any bombs about to fall. Nevertheless, Cruickshank worries this could be the last we see of these wonders of the ancient world, now standing in the firing line –not just the beginnings of Iraq but the roots of all our history.