From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The failure of the American adventure in Iraq is all the more tragic for its promising beginnings, according to this engrossing memoir of the occupation and insurgency. Glantz, a correspondent for the progressive Pacifica radio network, arrived in Iraq immediately after the fall of Baghdad. Against his editors' expectations, he discovered that, although tried by the chaos and lack of basic services, most Iraqis applauded the United States for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Returning in 2004, he found that goodwill squandered, as Iraqis grew increasingly angry at the continuing absence of electricity and clean water, high unemployment, anarchy in the streets and mass imprisonment of innocent people by American soldiers who couldn't tell insurgents from civilians. With the brutal sieges of Fallujah and Najaf in April 2004, Glantz contends, the transformation of the United States in the eyes of Iraqis from liberator to oppressor was complete. Glantz's account is full of interviews with ordinary Iraqis, and from their evolving thoughts and experiences he builds a critique of the many American misconceptions about Iraq, one that castigates equally the left's knee-jerk preconceptions, the occupation authorities' cluelessness and heavy-handed misrule and the media's lack of interest in the suffering of Iraqis. The result is a nuanced and hard-hitting indictment. Agent, Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Glantz is a reporter for the leftist-leaning Pacifica Radio. On the eve of the American invasion, he held rather predictable views; an American invasion would be folly, dictated by our thirst for cheap oil. Once he arrived in Iraq after the invasion, Glantz acknowledged his surprise. Among many Iraqis, there was genuine elation that Saddam's tyranny had been overthrown. If the American presence wasn't viewed with jubilation, it was at least accepted as a necessary but temporary evil. Unfortunately, according to Glantz, the Americans quickly squandered this advantage. Because of the arrogance and incompetence of the military and private contractors, electrical power wasn't restored, drinking water remained polluted, and citizens remained at the mercy of looters and thugs. The heavy hand of the military at Abu Ghraib prison and during the assault on the city of Fallujah further alienated public opinion. This is not a balanced work; Glantz clearly wants to score points against American policy, and he shows little sympathy for the difficult decisions made during a military occupation. Still, his views are well presented and deserve serious consideration. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved