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Over Thereby Alan Feuer
Synopses & Reviews
A very different kind of war memoir — a wry, sardonic, and uncommonly funny account of one amateurish yet principled reporter's encounter with the absurdities of the second Iraq war.
Highly ambitious yet deeply ambivalent about the impending war, New York Times reporter Alan Feuer was sent to the Middle East to cover the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003. He was not alone: over 700 embedded news reporters planned on locking step with the military, and multitudes more, biding their time until Baghdad fell, would follow in their wake.
In this gin-soaked yet scrupulously honest look at a reporter in wartime, Feuer describes this international media swarm, not to mention the local opportunists and unscrupulous profiteers, to exhilarating and profound effect. In these pages, you'll meet a desert Donald Trump, the stiletto-heeled Rania (who'll bribe a border guard or introduce you to the Queen — all for the right price), as well as the Times bureau chiefs who decide what, and how much of it, is fit to print.
Clear-eyed and ever cognizant of the moral quicksand that surrounds him, Feuer recounts the interactions that form the news in stylish prose wedded to a wry, dry wit.
"The media coverage of the war in Iraq is almost as much of an upheaval as the war itself in this engrossing memoir. New York Times reporter Feuer is yanked from the Bronx bureau and dropped into the Middle East just as the bombs start to fall on Baghdad. At the mercy both of events and high-handed editors, he struggles to make his way into Iraq and gain some perspective on the unfolding chaos that he can communicate to readers. Feuer's is a perceptive insider's account of the making of the news, filled with vivid sketches of fellow journalists and with the nuts-and-bolts details of stalking and seducing sources and piecing stories together from illegible notes in the face of near-impossible deadlines. It's also a trenchant, at times self-lacerating, critique of the media itself and its shallowness and isolation, its swarming of shell-shocked Iraqis, its drive to reduce human tragedy to poignant sound bites. Written in the third person, with a novelistic density and introspection, Feuer's muscular prose interrogates his own class anxieties and his longing for manhood and authentic experience, using them as a window into the dynamics that led America to war. The result is a fresh, personal take on the Iraqi adventure. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It's a down-and-dirty book...with plenty of grit and rough language, but that, of course, is part of the story, too. This is one war memoir that demands to be read." Booklist
"Engaging...memorable...Feuer's first book helps us understand how the image of war is crafted, and for that alone it is welcome." Kirkus Reviews
In this gin-soaked yet scrupulously honest look at a reporter in wartime, Feuer describes the international media swarm that preceeded the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the local opportunists and unscrupulous profiteers, to exhilarating and profound effect.
About the Author
Alan Feuer has been a staff writer at the New York Times since 1999, working mostly for the Metropolitan desk. He recently published Over There, a book based on his stint covering the Iraq war for the Times.
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