During the United States-led invasion of Iraq, in March 2003, Smithsonian magazine was about to print "Jonathan Kandell, the first of seven feature stories we have published about Iraq. Those stories—69 pages in the magazine, about 30,000 words, 71 photographs and 4 original maps—cover Iraq's ancient and recent history, its ethnic and religious groups, its daily life, its archaeology, even its natural environment. We've sent writers and photographers to the Basra. We've tried to explain the origins of civilization 5,000 years ago, the failed British experiment in nation-building 100 years ago, the anger in Karbala streets three years ago. At Smithsonian, we specialize in a certain kind of story we call "news context," one that we hope goes beyond the headline or podcast and offers substantial information and detailed analysis that helps readers make better sense of history-in-the-making. Each of these pieces, published between May 2003 and October 2006, try to do that. Taken together, they help tell the story of our time.