Synopses & Reviews
In August 2003, at the age of thirty, Rory Stewart took a taxi from Jordan to Baghdad. A Farsi-speaking British diplomat who had recently completed an epic walk from Turkey to Bangladesh, he was soon appointed deputy governor of Amarah and then Nasiriyah, provinces in the remote, impoverished marsh regions of southern Iraq. He spent the next eleven months negotiating hostage releases, holding elections, and splicing together some semblance of an infrastructure for a population of millions teetering on the brink of civil war.
The Prince of the Marshes tells the story of Stewart's year. As a participant he takes us inside the occupation and beyond the Green Zone, introducing us to a colorful cast of Iraqis and revealing the complexity and fragility of a society we struggle to understand. By turns funny and harrowing, moving and incisive, it amounts to a unique portrait of heroism and the tragedy that intervention inevitably courts in the modern age.
"Soon after Stewart, a British diplomat and professional adventurer, traveled to Iraq late in 2003 to search for work, he was named a provincial governor. In characteristic understatement, he says of his new role: 'I spoke little Arabic, and had never managed a shattered and undeveloped province of 850,000.' His job was supposed to be easy: the province, Maysan, nestled along the Iranian border deep in Iraq's Shia south, was one of the country's most homogenous, and nearly all of its citizens had fought against Saddam. Stewart spent most of his time navigating through a byzantine and thoroughly unfamiliar political landscape of tribal leaders, Islamist militias, Communist dissidents and Iranian intelligence agents. When he asks an adviser in Baghdad what his goals should be, his friend responds that if, within a year, the province hasn't descended into anarchy and Stewart can serve him 'some decent ice cream,' he will be satisfied. Engrossing and often darkly humorous, his book should be required reading for every political commentator who knows exactly what to do in Iraq despite never having dealt with recalcitrant interpreters or an angry mob. In the end, Stewart prevails and is rewarded with an appointment to Dhi Qar, a much more dangerous province with less military support. 16 pages of photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Stewart was able to forge strong bonds with individual Arabs, and his description of his personal relations form the core of an interesting look at a region of Iraq rarely covered in the mass media." Booklist
"Despite its exotic setting, the story is strangely familiar. Will reward readers interested in the Iraq war, or disaster management, or anyone interested in taking an intelligent adventure." Kirkus Reviews
Stewart chronicles his 11 months of negotiating hostage releases, holding elections, and splicing together some semblance of an infrastructure in an impoverished region of southern Iraq.
About the Author
RORY STEWART is the bestselling author of The Places in Between andandnbsp;The Prince of the Marshes. A former director of the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy andandnbsp;Ryan Professor of Human Rights atandnbsp;Harvardand#39;s Kennedy School of Government, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services in Iraq.andnbsp;Heandnbsp;is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border, a constituency in Northern Cumbria, where he lives with his wife.
Table of Contents
Waking Up Dead
Part One: The Prince of the Marshes
The British Camp
The Supervisory Committee
Part Two: Death of a Hero
And Would Not Stay for an Answer
Part Three: Iraqi Pastoral
The Paths That Lead to Destruction
Import Substitution Industrialization
The Islamic Call
Majority and Minority
A New Chief
Death by the Office Wall
Part Four: Nasiriyah
A Second Governor
Sage of the Assembly
Echoes from the Frontiers
Return to the Green Zone
The Rule of Law
Part Five: Besieged
The Quick Reaction Force
Last Days in Amara