Synopses & Reviews
Consistently compared with the work of Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Herr, The Freedom provides a fearless and unsanitized tour of the disastrous occupation of Iraq, in all its surreal and terrifying detail. Drawing on the best tradition of war reporting, here is a rare book that “embeds” with both sides—the U.S. military and the Iraqi resistance.
Acclaimed journalist Christian Parenti takes us on a high-speed ride along treacherous roads to the centers of the ongoing conflict in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Sadr City through the first year of the occupation. He introduces us to relatives waiting anxiously outside the holding fortress of Abu Ghraib and takes a night drive around Baghdad with the insurgents. He recounts the military’s use of drugs and prostitutes, the imperial buffoonery of the Green Zone, and the religious ecstasy of the Shiites. And he allows us to witness, close up and in riveting detail, the cataclysmic violence, rampant gangsterism, and quotidian heroism that is today’s Iraq.
As predicted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, when “historians of tomorrow start writing, they will doubtless have copies of The Freedom close at hand.”
Last year, the most superbly equipped fighting force on the planet was led into the only type of war for which its experts deemed it unprepared: a highly politicized urban counterinsurgency. As the casualties mount, American troops discover there is no plan B, only an ad hoc set of tactics cobbled together and called a strategy. The Freedom provides a fearless and unsanitized look at how the war is unfolding. We enter Baghdad as most journalists do--in a convoy of GMC Suburbans racing 95 miles an hour in tight, side-by-side formation. Once in the city, we encounter a relative of Saddam's who's scraping by while his father feeds money to the resistance; a former Fedayeen fighter who loves Limp Bizkit and Michael Bolton; the underage prostitutes who service U.S. soldiers and are hunted by religious vigilantes; the freshly minted MBAs who run the Coalition Provisional Authority's projects on privatization; the somnambulant American press corps and its fierce counterparts from al Jazeera and al Arabia. Finally, we are embedded with U.S. troops, the unworldly, working-class kids left holding the bag, forced to die for a war many of them don't support.
"The Freedom" provides a fearless and unsanitized look at how the war in Iraq is unfolding. Readers enter Baghdad as most journalists do--in a convoy of GMC Suburbans racing 95 miles an hour in tight, side-by-side formation.
About the Author
Christian Parenti is the author of The Soft Cage
and Lockdown America.
He is a visiting fellow at the CUNY Graduate School’s Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, and his articles appear regularly in The Nation.
He lives in New York City.