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Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Vintage)

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Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Vintage) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307278838
ISBN10: 0307278832
Condition: Standard
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Staff Pick

Not to be lost amid the many books on Iraq, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, gives us a fascinating look at what life inside the Green Zone was like in the first year of post-Saddam Iraq. Here Chandrasekaran’s tragicomic chronicle reveals the bungling of inexperienced officials employed to rebuild a war-torn Iraq. Riveting, yet painful to read, this insightful book gives us a picture of how things went so wrong so fast.
Recommended by Ted, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An unprecedented account of life in Baghdad's Green Zone, a walled-off enclave of towering plants, posh villas, and sparkling swimming pools that was the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq.

The Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes us with him into the Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America — a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theater that screened shoot-'em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service — much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and internal documents, Chandrasekaran tells the story of the people and ideas that inhabited the Green Zone during the occupation, from the imperial viceroy L. Paul Bremer III to the fleet of twentysomethings hired to implement the idea that Americans could build a Jeffersonian democracy in an embattled Middle Eastern country.

In the vacuum of postwar planning, Bremer ignores what Iraqis tell him they want or need and instead pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions — a flat tax, a sell-off of Iraqi government assets, and an end to food rationing. His underlings spend their days drawing up pie-in-the-sky policies, among them a new traffic code and a law protecting microchip designs, instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoringelectricity production. His almost comic initiatives anger the locals and help fuel the insurgency.

Chandrasekaran details Bernard Kerik's ludicrous attempt to train the Iraqi police and brings to light lesser known but typical travesties: the case of the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of reestablishing Baghdad's stock exchange; a contractor with no previous experience paid millions to guard a closed airport; a State Department employee forced to bribe Americans to enlist their help in preventing Iraqi weapons scientists from defecting to Iran; Americans willing to serve in Iraq screened by White House officials for their views on Roe v. Wade; people with prior expertise in the Middle East excluded in favor of lesser-qualified Republican Party loyalists. Finally, he describes Bremer's ignominious departure in 2004, fleeing secretly in a helicopter two days ahead of schedule.

This is a startling portrait of an Oz-like place where a vital aspect of our government's folly in Iraq played out. It is a book certain to be talked about for years to come.

Review:

"Rajiv Chandrasekaran has not given us 'another Iraq book.' He has given us a riveting tale of American misadventure....He shows us American idealism and voyeurism, as well as the deadly results of American hubris. And by giving us the first full picture from inside the Green Zone, he depicts a mission doomed to failure before it had even been launched." Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide

Review:

"How depressing that the ongoing American presence in Iraq can make for such perversely entertaining reading. Washington Post reporter Chandrasekaran's sharp-eyed account of life inside Baghdad's Green Zone offers some of the blackest comedy at the bookstore." Entertainment Weekly (Best Books of 2006)

Review:

"Mr. Chandrasekaran's book, while nonfiction, is as chilling an indictment of America's tragic cultural myopia as Graham Greene's prescient 1955 novel of the American debacle in Indochina, The Quiet American." Frank Rich, The New York Times Op-Ed

Review:

"Chandrasekaran's detail-rich reporting and firsthand, candid narrative is what sets his contribution apart and bolsters his withering assessment....[A]n eye-opening tour of ineptitude, misdirection and perils of democracy-building." Newsday

Review:

"[F]ull of jaw-dropping tales of the myriad large and small ways in which Bremer and his team poured fuel into the lethal cauldron that is today's Iraq....[I]t is impossible to read his book without thinking about the larger implications of the story he tells." Moisés Naím, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"[V]ividly detailed....[Mr. Chandrasekaran's] book gives the reader a visceral — sometimes sickening — picture of how the administration and its handpicked crew bungled the first year in postwar Iraq..." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"This is a dazzling, important, and entertaining work of reportage about the American civilians who tried to remake Iraq, and about the strange, isolated city-state in Baghdad where they failed. Every American who wants to understand how and why things went so badly wrong in Iraq should read this book." Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

Review:

"[A] revealing account of the postwar administration of Iraq....Chandrasekaran's portrait of blinkered idealism is evenhanded, chronicling the disillusionment of conservatives who were sent to a war zone without the resources to achieve lasting change." The New Yorker

Review:

"A devastating indictment of the post-invasion failures of the Bush administration." Booklist

Review:

"With acuity and a fine sense of the absurd, the author peels back the roof to reveal an ant heap of arrogance, ineptitude, and hayseed provincialism." Boston Globe

Synopsis:

The Green Zone, Baghdad, 2003: in this walled-off compound of swimming pools and luxurious amenities, Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority set out to fashion a new, democratic Iraq. Staffed by idealistic aides chosen primarily for their views on issues such as abortion and capital punishment, the CPA spent the crucial first year of occupation pursuing goals that had little to do with the immediate needs of a postwar nation: flat taxes instead of electricity and deregulated health care instead of emergency medical supplies.

In this acclaimed firsthand account, the former Baghdad bureau chief of The Washington Post gives us an intimate portrait of life inside this Oz-like bubble, which continued unaffected by the growing mayhem outside. This is a quietly devastating tale of imperial folly, and the definitive history of those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.

Synopsis:

Hailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as absolutely brilliant, this national bestseller examines the numerous self-inflicted pitfalls, miscalculations, and blunders that had plagued the first year of the American occupation of Iraq.

About the Author

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. He previously served the Post as a bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia, and as a correspondent covering the war in Afghanistan. He recently completed a term as journalist-in-residence at the International Reporting Project at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He lives in Washington, D.C.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lucy Little, September 29, 2007 (view all comments by Lucy Little)
I can't tell you how many times my jaw dropped with incredulity as I read this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(23 of 43 readers found this comment helpful)
DOCTOR PETER TEIMAN FRANKLIN, September 27, 2007 (view all comments by DOCTOR PETER TEIMAN FRANKLIN)
DOCTOR PETER TEIMAN FRANKLIN here,
To experience life in another time-space continuum, this book is a must!
DOCTOR PETER TEIMAN FRANKLIN
France
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(22 of 43 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278838
Author:
Chandrasekaran, Raji
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Author:
Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Author:
Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - International Secur
Subject:
Military - Iraq War (2003-)
Subject:
Political corruption
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Iraq War, 2003
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
International Security
Subject:
World History-Iraq War (2003-?)
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20070931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 MAP
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x 0.8 in 0.6 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Middle East » Iraq
History and Social Science » Military » Iraq War (2003-)
History and Social Science » Military » Recent Military History
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307278838 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Not to be lost amid the many books on Iraq, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, gives us a fascinating look at what life inside the Green Zone was like in the first year of post-Saddam Iraq. Here Chandrasekaran’s tragicomic chronicle reveals the bungling of inexperienced officials employed to rebuild a war-torn Iraq. Riveting, yet painful to read, this insightful book gives us a picture of how things went so wrong so fast.

"Review" by , "Rajiv Chandrasekaran has not given us 'another Iraq book.' He has given us a riveting tale of American misadventure....He shows us American idealism and voyeurism, as well as the deadly results of American hubris. And by giving us the first full picture from inside the Green Zone, he depicts a mission doomed to failure before it had even been launched."
"Review" by , "How depressing that the ongoing American presence in Iraq can make for such perversely entertaining reading. Washington Post reporter Chandrasekaran's sharp-eyed account of life inside Baghdad's Green Zone offers some of the blackest comedy at the bookstore."
"Review" by , "Mr. Chandrasekaran's book, while nonfiction, is as chilling an indictment of America's tragic cultural myopia as Graham Greene's prescient 1955 novel of the American debacle in Indochina, The Quiet American."
"Review" by , "Chandrasekaran's detail-rich reporting and firsthand, candid narrative is what sets his contribution apart and bolsters his withering assessment....[A]n eye-opening tour of ineptitude, misdirection and perils of democracy-building."
"Review" by , "[F]ull of jaw-dropping tales of the myriad large and small ways in which Bremer and his team poured fuel into the lethal cauldron that is today's Iraq....[I]t is impossible to read his book without thinking about the larger implications of the story he tells."
"Review" by , "[V]ividly detailed....[Mr. Chandrasekaran's] book gives the reader a visceral — sometimes sickening — picture of how the administration and its handpicked crew bungled the first year in postwar Iraq..."
"Review" by , "This is a dazzling, important, and entertaining work of reportage about the American civilians who tried to remake Iraq, and about the strange, isolated city-state in Baghdad where they failed. Every American who wants to understand how and why things went so badly wrong in Iraq should read this book."
"Review" by , "[A] revealing account of the postwar administration of Iraq....Chandrasekaran's portrait of blinkered idealism is evenhanded, chronicling the disillusionment of conservatives who were sent to a war zone without the resources to achieve lasting change."
"Review" by , "A devastating indictment of the post-invasion failures of the Bush administration."
"Review" by , "With acuity and a fine sense of the absurd, the author peels back the roof to reveal an ant heap of arrogance, ineptitude, and hayseed provincialism."
"Synopsis" by , The Green Zone, Baghdad, 2003: in this walled-off compound of swimming pools and luxurious amenities, Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority set out to fashion a new, democratic Iraq. Staffed by idealistic aides chosen primarily for their views on issues such as abortion and capital punishment, the CPA spent the crucial first year of occupation pursuing goals that had little to do with the immediate needs of a postwar nation: flat taxes instead of electricity and deregulated health care instead of emergency medical supplies.

In this acclaimed firsthand account, the former Baghdad bureau chief of The Washington Post gives us an intimate portrait of life inside this Oz-like bubble, which continued unaffected by the growing mayhem outside. This is a quietly devastating tale of imperial folly, and the definitive history of those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.

"Synopsis" by , Hailed by "The New York Times Book Review" as absolutely brilliant, this national bestseller examines the numerous self-inflicted pitfalls, miscalculations, and blunders that had plagued the first year of the American occupation of Iraq.
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