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Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi Paperback – October, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1ST edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802140440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802140449
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,490,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An incredible view of life in Baghdad." -- Erica Hill, CNN.com

"In turns crass and subtle, provincial and worldly, [this] diary has become one voice of an Internet generation." -- Charles Piller, The Los Angeles Times

"The most famous and most mysterious blogger in the world…Salam Pax was the Anne Frank of the war…and its Elvis." -- Peter Maass, Slate.com

"The most vivid account of the…war…has appeared on the internet-on the weblog of an unknown Iraqi." -- Leo Hickman, The Guardian

"‘Salam Pax’ is an extremely talented writer." -- William Gibson

About the Author

Salam Pax is the pseudonym of a 29-year-old man who lives in Baghdad and writes a column
about life in Iraq for The Guardian.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Shashank Tripathi on November 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Blogging is all well and good, but Mr. Pax had a sure-shot sword dangling over his neck if his cloak-and-dagger reportage of Iraq was discovered. With that in mind, it is a marvel enough that this book is in publication.
Armed with an Internet connection and a blogger account, Pax leaves no stone unturned in the unabashed description of the attitude of his friends and family towards the US, but also to Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship. The dominant theme of his caustic blog is a deep mistrust of American motives, and the text veritably seers with subdued anger, but Pax's skepticism is informed by a tenacious Iraqi nationalism.
Like many people potentially affected by wars, I devour a lot of news sources, including political blogs (some more informative than others) but it is usually difficult to see a clear perspective of the people who are physically on the receiving end of enemy scuds unless you live, breathe and sleep in the context of that news.
Pax has done a pretty fascinating job of organizing his book, it is eye-opening! For instance, one big anomaly in global news coverage from CNN/Fox/etc lies in introducing Iraq as this hapless nation fragmented by a bevy of races and religions. Yet Pax strongly argues that following recent protracted hostilities with Iran and Kuwait, Iraq itself has been boasting a very strong nationalistic fabric. I wonder how this glaring reality can escape international scribes?
If only the decision-makers in London and Washington take the time to consult the voice of the people (such as Pax's) before waging full-scale wars, their understanding about the country they are now scampering to control can perhaps be greatly helped.
I highly commend Mr. Pax on his efforts, and wish the best to his book, blog and other activism endeavours. If this thought-provoking, entertaining, and occasionally even infuriating compilation of his blog entries is anything to go by, I surely will be reading more of him!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By reader on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
obviously the individual who wrote a previous review on Pax's baathist links is the type of moron who skips over a books introduction... please take the time to read this excerpt:

"...Those who thought his blog was unduly critical of Iraq's `liberators' made dark insinuations about his parents'

Baathist connections. Eventually Salam blew his top, advising

his detractors to `go play Agatha Christie somewhere else.' His

mother, he said, had been a sociologist at the Ministry of

Education, but had given up her job when she was told she could

not make progress in her career without becoming a Party member.

His father had been an eminent economist, but had made a similar

decision when faced with the same choice. `You are being disrespectful to the people who have put the first copy of George

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four in my hands . . . go fling the rubbish at someone else.'

In fact, the conspiracy theorists' preoccupation with his family's supposed regime connections misses one of the most compelling attributes of Salam's diaries: he directs his vitriol in all directions. In the last days of the war he managed to describe the Fedayeen, the Baathist loyalists mounting a guerilla defence of Baghdad in the space of two paragraphs as `sickos', `chicken s**t' and `creepy f**s'. If he has been less than reverential about Iraq's occupiers,

he has been harder still on their Iraqi critics..."
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Raisin Mountaineer on February 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been reading Salam's blog since before the war started, and continue to do so-- he is certainly no "ordinary Iraqi"-- His written English is better than 99% of Americans, his knowledge of Western popular culture is mind-boggling, and his snide digs at posturing of all kinds is world class. His genius brings us the gift of perspective and complexity in a situation reduced by American television to sound bytes and simple images.
Salam shares not only his political views but his opinions on music, pop culture and the absurdities of life in general, with the result that I now have someone in Iraq who I connect with intellectually and emotionally, who I worry about, think of, pray for. Not an American soldier (bless them too), but a citizen of Iraq who wishes for both peace and freedom, and who is deeply ambivalent about what is happening there.
Salam proves the saying that the "pen is mightier than the sword." No "ordinary Iraqi," indeed, but an extraordinary world citizen writing us missives from a surreal position.
Write on, Salam. And be safe.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Kenosian on February 4, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What is going on in people's minds while the politicians and leaders use their own peculiar vocabularies to justify whatever?
Salam, thank you, thank you for letting an Iowan get a view without the doublespeak.
Not many people could give the absurdities that end in bombs and invasion the kind of authentic black humor that Salam does. I laughed out loud a lot. The book reminds me of "Catch 22" despite the differences of culture, author's voice, time and place.
Salam is the author with whom I'd most like to have coffee. Or wine-he can pick. I'll pick up the bill.
oh, p.s. for you nitpickers about the title ordinary: If a bomb had killed Salam, I bet his name would have been collateral damage.
read this book.
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