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I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story Paperback – February 16, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In his powerful debut, a young Newsweek reporter details two tumultuous years covering the war while falling in love with his long-distance girlfriend Andi, who would join him in Iraq only to be killed in a botched kidnapping. Largely concerned with describing on-the-ground conditions, Hastings reports with insight and grim humor from the front lines, embedded with soldiers in "a world with its own language and geography." Hastings handles the grisly particulars directly, the way he talks with the troops; the account is pocked with their tales, short bursts of heart-stopping sadness ("One American and at least fifteen Iraqi children killed") with no lesson or redemption indicated, and often without follow-up. The chaos is given shape by Hastings' romance with Andi, who remains in New York for a year before joining him in the Green Zone; dates, emails and instant messages provide a welcome reprieve, and drive the narrative toward its devestating conclusion like a tightly-plotted thriller. Like Mariane Pearl's A Mighty Heart, this is a tragic love story with broad appeal married to an unflinching account of wartime violence and brutality; as such, it should do even more than that bestseller to fill in a general audience on the dire state of Iraq. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 2005, at the age of 25, Hastings was sent by Newsweek to cover the war in Iraq. Eventually, his girlfriend, Andi Parhamovich, joined him, working for the National Democratic Institute to try to create democratic institutions. The story of their moving and ultimately tragic relationship forms the core of Hasting’s account. The book begins and ends with the horrifying terror attack that killed Parhamovich. In between, Hastings describes how two young, almost hopelessly idealistic people try to nurture and maintain a relationship amid the daily carnage in Baghdad. This is no sappy love story. There is, of course, affection, but there is also conflict as both show the stress of constant fear for their personal safety. This is also a rather brutal story of a society ripping itself apart. Particularly after the March 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, sectarian violence rages with increasing savagery. No one is immune. Supposed noncombatants must travel in security convoys protected by private security firms. Parhamovich’s death is emotionally wrenching, but it seems almost predictable in this moving but deeply disturbing story. --Jay Freeman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141656098X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416560982
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Lockhart on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This truly amazing book tells two stories. The main story is of course the beautiful, modern love story between Michael and Andi. Everyone that has been in love can relate to the stories of their first couple dates, the playful yet intense arguments that you get into when first finding out about each other and the overall feeling of just wanting to be next to the person you love. The tragic end to their relationship literally made me break down and cry. It only took me a couple days to read most of the book, but it took an additional couple days just to read the last couple chapters. The final chapters are so overwhelming that I needed to stop reading every so often just to collect myself.

The second story is about the war in Iraq. I have read hundreds of books and stories about the current conflict and no other book so fully explains the war better than "I Lost My love In Baghdad." Everyone should read this book in order to fully appreciate what is happening on a day to day basis to our troops and the Iraqi people.

I fully recommend this book and encourage everyone to read it. You will not be able to put it down.
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Format: Hardcover
The tragedy of losing someone as close to you as your first love is unimaginably painfull. It is made even more grueling if it is under the conditions that his fiance passed away in. There are those reading this book that forget that message. I am not one of those individuals. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Nothing could ever bring her back but maybe telling her story will make you whole.
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I knew Mike Hastings and considered him a friend, but I'm not giving this five stars out of a nepotistic star bumping scheme for my late friend.

I finally read this book after avoiding it and many other Iraq memoirs for the better part of the last decade. I served in Iraq in 2004-5 and then in 2006-7. When not there, I worked on Iraq policy in the Pentagon or State Department. For personal reasons I haven't had much of a desire to read about our great tragedy in Iraq, but last month I picked Mike's book up off of my shelf and began it.

First, Mike's details are spot on. His first initial experiences entering a Baghdad at war, his acclimatization to "normality" at war, and then his struggle with the dissonance between life in America and life at war are not just exacting and illustrative, but touching and sincere. To be short, his reporting of both the war and life at home during war, or America in exception to war, is excellent.

But, on top of outstanding war reporting, and what is lost, I believe, in so much of our discussion and understanding of war, is the personal story. War is above all else a human experience. The larger, macro examination and discussion of Iraq in its common form as geo-political, DC Beltway pundit banter is meaningless when compared with the millions upon millions of individual stories of men, women and children, most of them tales of suffering and grief, too many of them snuffed out and no longer continuing.

Mike's story is intimate, genuine, heartbreaking, and, as great writing does, transcends the immediate environment of the story to be understood as a universal truism that others can share in. While Mike's war reporting will explain and describe the events of that war to allow someone inexperienced with its madness, his personal story, of his love and relationship, will be readily identifiable by any of us who have loved and lost.
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Format: Hardcover
Hastings' book is a phenomenal introduction to young love and life in Baghdad. Throughout his story, there is a unique perspective on Iraq and daily life there. I could sense the intensity and constant danger ubiquitous in the country. More importantly, this story really makes me regret not having the opportunity to ever meet Andi Parhamovich. He portrays her as a beautiful, noble, vibrant young woman and her loss feels tragic even to the reader.
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I've read some previous reviews which complained about romanticism and machismo and an apparent "air" put upon by the (now deceased) author. As someone who was in Baghdad at the times that Michael Hastings was there, and more specifically, experiencing many of the same emotions he experienced, I can tell you those reviews are at best ignorant, and at worst, vapid. This story is so true it hurts. The emotions expressed here...all of them...are 100% real, and as raw as they get. Unfortunately, I fear only those of us who were there will know how true this story really is. Thank you, Micheal, for telling this story. May you and Andi both rest in peace.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author, prize-winning journalist Michael Hastings, died this week in a car crash at 33. The news headlines led me to this book, about his years in Baghdad, covering the war, where his fiancee, Andi, was tragically killed. Eye-opening, well-written and especially sad, considering his fate. Hopefully Andi was waiting for him ...
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I always appreciated Michael Hastings' perspective and knowledge about the politics of the military industrial complex and the human suffering of innocents of the Iraq and Afghan wars. He was a frequent contributer on cable news and in print. He was direct and no-holds barred, e.g. when he he revealed in his Rolling Stone piece Gen. Stanley McChrystal's opinions of the President and his administration. Because of Hastings' report, McChrystal was asked to resign. I had no idea of Hastings' his heartbreaking personal experience when he was assigned to cover Iraq for the first time for Newsweek. However, Hasting's recent tragic death, at the tender age of 33, moved me to read his books. His war reporting in this book was excellent, adding more to what I had known about the folly of how the US began that regrettable war. The other personal story is the one that stirred my heart. It makes all of his reporting that I had seen so frequently in his television appearances even more meaningful. This is one book I couldn't put down.
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