From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. With pens down and cameras shuttered, 44 reporters casually and directly discuss all angles of the War in Iraq, including their own shock, fear and incomprehension, in this compilation of interviews conducted by The Columbia Journalism Review. In thematic, loosely chronological chapters ("In the Beginning," "Turning Points," "The Embeds," "The Good News"), the Iraq situation escalates from uncertainty to lawlessness to siege mentality and open insurgency alongside sunny reports from officials: "Iyad Allawi was saying that almost the entire country was safe," while freelancer Andrew Lee Butters was learning doctors in Mosul's main hospitals "were getting three headless bodies delivered to the morgue everyday." A dramatic portrait of Iraq's day-to-day emerges: freelancer Nir Rosen sympathizes with Iraqis' fear of American soldiers; CBS News' Elizabeth Palmer, meanwhile, sees the "ill-prepared" soldiers in essentially the same predicament as the Iraqis: "hostages of a terrible situation." Back home, reporters deal with misinformation, media bias and post-traumatic stress, as well as disillusionment, shame and rage over the stories that will likely never reach a mass audience. The New Yorker's John Lee Anderson says "there's no proper way" to cover war that isn't "rife with contradictions and problems"; this vital, breathtaking collection may be the closest contemporary reporting gets to cutting through the fog of war. 22 color photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A searing document, one of the most revealing chronicles of the war yet published. It is as though correspondents are talking late into the night, trying to explain what it was like, what sights and smells haunt them, what they're proud of and what they regret, what they saw coming and what they didn't.” —Anthony Swofford, The Washington Post
“[A] fascinating account of trying to report on a war unprecedented in its danger for the media.... The reporters' accounts here are notable for their studied neutrality. Blood flows, bodies and limbs pile up. They hear the whistle of bullets and whoosh of mortars.” —Los Angeles Times
“A terrific new resource for understanding what really happened—and is happening—in Iraq. A gritty and gripping narrative history of the run–up to war to the present quagmire.” —The Nation
“[A] harrowing portrait of what it was like to live and work in Iraq as the country rapidly descended into chaos.” —Forbes
“An excellent oral history… Being conversational, Reporting Iraq
is much easier to read than a long news story. It is also blunt, and the reader may be thankful that it is organized so it can be taken in small doses.” —The Seattle Times
“Describes the dangers reporters face trying to cover a conflict where just looking foreign makes you suspicious and where roadside bombs are a random and constant threat.” —The Chicago Tribune
"Free from the constraints of objective journalism, the reporters hold nothing back and paint an almost uniformly bleak picture of life in post-Saddam Iraq…. While Reporting Iraq is unlikely to win reporters any new friends—especially among those who already hold them in low regard— the book offers the serious reader a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the Baghdad press corps.” —The Houston Chronicle
“[A]n intimate look at the stories behind the stories reported out of Iraq. The reporters offer early observations that don’t make it into journalistic reports: changes in the expectations that Americans would be greeted as liberators, the personal perils of everyday life, the distancing from the action as Iraqis became more suspicious of journalists, and changes in perceptions of the American mission in Iraq….More illuminating than straightforward reporting." —Booklist
“The interviews make clear the difficulties in obtaining accurate information during war and insurgency. Many of the journalists developed good working relationships with Iraqi citizens, and they talk about how the war has changed their own lives forever. An enlightening look at the Iraq war.” —Library Journal
"This vital, breathtaking collection may be the closest contemporary reporting gets to cutting through the fog of war.” —Publishers Weekly