From Publishers Weekly
The distinctive voice of pseudonymous Riverbend shines through this continuation of her blog, from October 2004 through March 2006 (2005's Baghdad Burning
won a Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Literary Reportage). Now 27, she offers an invaluable description of life in a middle-class, secular, mixed Shia-Sunni family. Alternating reports of attacks seen on TV and raids in her neighborhood with the mundane details of fuel shortages and infrequent electricity and water, Riverbend also offers astute analysis of the Iraqi draft constitution and American media, widely available through Iraqi TV and the Internet (her suggestion for a reality show: "Take 15 Bush supporters and throw them in a house in Fallujah"). She emphasizes how gender has become an issue when it never was before, e.g., election forms are all stamped "male." Riverbend's dry wit leavens her anger: after watching the 2006 Oscar ceremonies on TV, she proposes Iraqi Oscars ("Ahmed Al-Chalabi in 'Disappearing Act' for his magnificent evaporation from the Iraqi political scene"). Throughout, the blog insists that most Iraqis are tolerant; prefer secular to religious government; fear civil war; and vehemently want the occupation to end. (Riverbend's blog continues at riverbendblog.blogspot.com.) (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Riverbend has chronicled the U.S. occupation of Baghdad since July 2003. The first collection of her blog posts, Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq
(2005), was an intriguing, wide-ranging document, exploring both the mundanities of daily deprivation and the complexities of Iraq's political predicament. In this update, chaos has become the routine, and Riverbend's good humor is almost exhausted. She reports growing repression by Fundamentalist Muslims and predicts the impending death of Iraq's secular society. Worse than the fear of public chastisement is the fear of violence from Iraq's security forces, which she claims now act as religious and political militias. Simmering with righteous anger, she writes of nighttime raids, of dead friends, of shortages of water, power, and food. And news accounts--and Riverbend's own blog--tell us that violence in Baghdad has become even worse since the book went to press. Riverbend's opinions may be off-putting to supporters of the war, but her experiences transcend politics. This invaluable account should be read by all voting-age Americans. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved