Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Vintage)
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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 ChandrasekaranÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
by Samantha Power, author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide,
"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."
by Entertainment Weekly (Best Books of 2006),
"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."
by Frank Rich, The New York Times Op-Ed,
"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."
"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."
by Moisés Naím, The Washington Post Book World,
"[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."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"[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..."
by Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars,
"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."
by The New Yorker,
"[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."
"A devastating indictment of the post-invasion failures of the Bush administration."
by Boston Globe,
"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."
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.
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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