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The Assassins' Gate
George Packer
0374299633
Oct 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Christopher HitchensIt is extremely uncommon for any reporter to read another's work and to find that he altogether recognizes the scene being described. Reading George Packer's book, I found not only that I was remembering things I had forgotten, but also that I was finding things that I ought to have noticed myself. His book rests on three main pillars: analysis of the intellectual origins of the Iraq war, summary of the political argument that preceded and then led to it, and firsthand description of the consequences on the ground. In each capacity, Packer shows himself once more to be the best chronicler, apart perhaps from John Burns of the New York Times, that the conflict has produced. (I say "once more" because some of this material has already appeared in the New Yorker.)A very strong opening...


Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
Michael R. Gordon
0375422625
March 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
On one level, narrator Wasson's mostly neutral delivery is apt. The authors' dispassionate prose imparts their impeccably researched story of the 2003 Iraq invasion—from concept to insurgency. Sourced at the highest levels, Cobra II captures the fog of war and war planning. But Wasson's read too often feels routine, as if recounting a local board meeting. Because he renders the numerous players and backdrops with equal tones, differentiating between them can be a challenge. This style of narration creates an anti-tension when juxtaposed with the book's revelations that an invasion plan was being formed not long after September 11, despite administration denials. Strictly supervising the plan was defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was intent on transforming the military into a lighter, leaner force....


The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell
John Crawford
157322314X
Aug 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Having joined the National Guard for the tuition benefits, Crawford, like many of his contemporaries, never expected to do any heavy lifting. Early on, he admits his is "the story of a group of college students... who wanted nothing to do with someone else's war." But when his Florida National Guard unit was activated, he was shipped to Kuwait shortly before the invasion of Iraq. Armed with shoddy equipment, led by incompetent officers and finding release in the occasional indulgence in pharmaceuticals, Crawford cared little for the mission and less for the Iraqis. "Mostly we were guarding gas stations and running patrols," he explains. As for Iraqi civilians, "I didn't give a shit what happened to any of them," he confesses after inadvertently saving an Iraqi boy from a mob beating. Crawford's disdain grows with...


Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
Stephen Kinzer
0805078614
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The recent ouster of Saddam Hussein may have turned "regime change" into a contemporary buzzword, but it's been a tactic of American foreign policy for more than 110 years. Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, Kinzer runs through the foreign governments the U.S. has had a hand in toppling, some of which he has written about at length before (in All the Shah's Men, etc.). Recent invasions of countries such as Grenada and Panama may be more familiar to readers than earlier interventions in Iran and Nicaragua, but Kinzer, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories. Although some of his assertions overreach themselves—as when he proposes that better conduct by the American government in the Spanish-American War might have prevented...


Bad Attitude
Sherrilyn Kenyon
1416503560
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Booklist
Josh Steele's violent rage over the death of his best friend in Iraq because of bad intelligence lands him in Leavenworth Prison, but he is released because he is needed on a sniper counterterrorism mission for the Bureau of American Defense (BAD). He is supposed to infiltrate an organization that is being paid to assassinate a visiting head of state. He is paired with special agent Sydney Westbrook, a somewhat notorious "ball buster." She tries to manipulate him but soon feels a grudging respect for someone she feels is an honorable man, despite his offbeat humor. Because of difficult backgrounds, both he and Sydney have trouble with intimacy, but that does not stop their fierce attraction to each other. Kenyon, known primarily for her paranormal romances in the Dark Hunter series, turns in her first "bad-boy" romance...


The Gift of Valor
Michael M. Phillips
0767920376
May 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
During a hard day of fighting in the Iraqi town of Husaybah in the spring of 2004, Marine Corporal Jason Dunham clamped his Kevlar helmet over a grenade dropped by an insurgent he and two other Marines were struggling to subdue. The story of his split-second of heroism, expanded here from Phillips's original Wall Street Journal article, makes for an absorbing if somewhat distended tearjerker. Working from copious reminiscences by Dunham's comrades and family, the author paints an idealized portrait of a lovable but callow youth who turned into a "natural leader of men" in the Marine Corps. The book picks up when it gets to the action; Phillips's nearly shot-by-shot recap of the day's bloody and chaotic combat is one of the most vivid depictions of the American side of the Iraqi insurgency. The final half of the...


Iraqi Phrasebook
Yasin M. Alkalesi
0071435115
Mar 2004
Paperback
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Book Description
The only language guide of its kind, the Iraqi Phrasebook provides you with the Iraqi-Arabic phrases you'll need to communicate effectively in general travel, medical, and security situations, as well as with ordinary Iraqis on the street. The book: Separates content by topic Focuses on conversational language Presents Arabic phrases in easy-to-read transliteration Features phrases addressing needs of military, aid, business, and construction personnel

About the Author

Yasin M. Alkalesi, Ph.D., has taught colloquial Arabic for 30 years at universities such as UCLA and Yale and at corporations.



The Reckoning
Sandra Mackey
0393324281
Mar 2003
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A journalist who has long covered the Middle East, Mackey destroys the myth that toppling Saddam Hussein will solve Iraq's problems and America's. She clearly traces the complex and diverse history of the country from its biblical roots to the present day. The most salient feature of the country, she argues strongly, is its fragility: Iraq is a patchwork of peoples (both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, as well as Kurds) that hangs together by a thread. Without addressing how these peoples can form a national identity, the author claims, a post-Saddam Iraq could be worse than the Balkans. But even though much of the book centers on Iraq's long history, it is the author's account of the past 40 years that is the most instructive. While much of the information about Saddam has been presented elsewhere, Mackey summarizes...


Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq
Ahmed S. Hashim
0801444527
March 2006
Hardcover
·
 
Book Description
More than two years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a loosely organized insurgency continues to target American and Coalition soldiers, as well as Iraqi security forces and civilians, with devastating results. In this sobering account of the ongoing violence, Ahmed Hashim, a specialist on Middle Eastern strategic issues and on irregular warfare, reveals the insurgents behind the widespread revolt, their motives, and their tactics. The insurgency, he shows, is not a united movement directed by a leadership with a single ideological vision. Instead, it involves former regime loyalists, Iraqis resentful of foreign occupation, foreign and domestic Islamist extremists, and elements of organized crime. These groups have cooperated with one another in the past and coordinated their attacks; but the alliance between...


No True Glory
Bing West
0553804022
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Booklist
The most hard-fought campaign since the invasion of Iraq by coalition forces in April 2003, the battle for Fallujah seems here to embody most every facet of the American military experience in that country--inordinate courage by the fighting men and their immediate superiors, indecision and contradiction by U.S. leaders from the top down, a disconnect between military will to succeed in Iraq and a lack of dollars and troops to support it, and a treacherous relationship between Fallujans and those Americans who would do everything to "help" them. West, who coauthored The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines (2003), does touch on the larger policy decisions made by U.S. leaders concerning Iraq but really only as they affect the soldiers trying to execute those decisions in Fallujah. Instead,...


My War: Killing Time in Iraq
Colby Buzzell
0399153276
October 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
My War is a book that will challenge many of the most common assumptions about the Iraq War and the people fighting in it. Colby Buzzell, the book's author and a U.S. Army machine-gunner who did a year-long tour in Iraq, is not the stereotypical small-town soldier from a Red State. He grew up in San Francisco eating pot brownies at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, skateboarding, and listening to punk and heavy metal. He supported Ralph Nader for president, reads George Orwell, and his dad worked in Silicon Valley. But he was sick of his "life in oblivion," bouncing around from one dead-end job to another. As Buzzell writes in his typically gritty prose, "I didn’t want to get all old and have my bratty grandkids ask me, 'Grandpa, where were you during the Iraq war?' and me going, 'Oh, I was busy doing temp work and data...


My Year in Iraq
L. Paul Bremer, III
0743273893
Jan 2006
Hardcover
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Book Description
"BAGHDAD WAS BURNING." With these words, Ambassador L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer begins his gripping memoir of fourteen danger-filled months as America's proconsul in Iraq. My Year in Iraq is the only senior insider's perspective on the crucial period following the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. In vivid, dramatic detail, Bremer reveals the previously hidden struggles among Iraqi politicians and America's leaders, taking us from the ancient lanes in the holy city of Najaf to the White House Situation Room and the Pentagon E-Ring. His memoir carries the reader behind closed doors in Baghdad during hammer-and-tongs negotiations with emerging Iraqi leaders as they struggle to forge the democratic institutions vital to Iraq's future of hope. He describes his private meetings with President Bush and his admiration for...


Love My Rifle More Than You
Kayla Williams
0393060985
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Williams's account of her Iraq service tries very hard to be a fresh and wised-up postfeminist take: Private Benjamin by way of G.I. Jane. Showy rough language peppers every paragraph, and Williams's obsessive self-concern, expressed in a lot of one-sentence paragraphs beginning with "I," verges on the narcissistic. The surprise is the degree to which the account succeeds and even echoes military memoirists from Julius Caesar to Ernie Pyle. The fear, bad weather, intermittent supplies, inedible meals (especially for the vegetarian author) and crushing boredom of life in the field are all here. Williams's particular strength is in putting an observant, distaff spin on the bantering and brutality of barracks life, where kids from the Survivor generation must come to terms with a grim and confusing...


Saturday
Ian McEwan
1400076196
April 2006
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Crossley offers a smart, measured performance of McEwan's cerebral novel about an ominous day seen through the eyes of Henry Perowne, a reflective neurosurgeon whose comfortable life is shaken following a run-in with a street thug. Crossley's polished English accent is a fine accompaniment to a story that focuses on the people of privileged London, and while most of the novel consists of Perowne's narration, Crossley easily and subtly shifts into a handful of characters, including Perowne's wife, the jumpy goon Baxter and even a hawkish American anesthesiologist. But what truly suits Crossley's approach to the text is his cool, precise, almost distant tone. Perowne is a surgeon and, aside from his frequent ruminations and flights of thought, he is nothing in his actions if not cautious and calculating. In this...


Inside CentCom: The Unvarnished Truth about the War in Afghanistan and Iraq
Michael DeLong
0641721021

Hardcover
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Night Draws Near
Anthony Shadid
0805076026
Oct 2005
Hardcover
·
 
Book Review
Most of the accounts of the Iraq War so far have been, to use the term the war made famous, embedded in one way or another: many officially so with American troops, most others limited--by mobility, interest, or understanding--to the American experience of the conflict. In Night Draws Near, Washington Post reporter Anthony Shadid writes about a side of the war that Americans have heard little about. His beat, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004, is the territory outside the barricaded, air-conditioned Green Zone: the Iraqi streets and, more often, the apartments and houses, darkened by blackouts and shaken by explosions, where most Iraqis wait out Saddam, the invasion, and three nearly unbroken decades of war.

Shadid is Lebanese American, born in Oklahoma, and he has a fluency in Arabic and an understanding of...


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