Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq Hardcover – June 3, 2008
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"War Journal," however, spends little time on Engel himself. It begins with telling how it felt to descend into Saddam's spider-hole, and goes on to observe that the rising power of Shiites in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon is the most significant shift in the region in decades. (Turns out Iran had a strong hand in selecting the Shiite candidates in our greatly heralded first Iraqi elections.)
"War Journal" tells the real story from Iraq's front lines, not the official blather dispensed from the "Green Zone." Engel wastes no time telling readers that many Iraqi army officers felt betrayed by Bremer's telling them to "get lost" after giving them token payments and their having obeyed American instructions to not fight. As for Al-Qaeda in Iraq - Engel states that Saddam allowed a few of their jidhadists in when the U.S. invasion seemed inevitable, but undoubtedly would have run them back out if the U.S. had not invaded. We also learn that Bin Laden planned to suck the U.S. into a war of attrition in Afghanistan post 9/11, but did not forsee locals turning on Al Qaeda.
"Support Our Troops" became a bad joke when contrasted with the poor or non-existent equipment American troops had in Iraq. Hussein's tyranny became replaced by constant kidnappings and midnight murders of sectarian enemies. Engel also tells the heart-breaking story of a grocer's young daughter kidnapped for ransom - when the father learns she has been raped, he tells the kidnappers he doesn't want her back, and she is killed.Read more ›
As a reporter on the frontlines, there is little he hasn't seen. He's had close calls, dodged bullets many times, escaped kidnapping attempts and has seen too many dead bodies to count. He is passionate about the region and wouldn't live anywhere else.
He starts the book on the day where he was taken to the spot where Saddam was captured. He writes about everything thereafter in great detail. He also lets you know his position on the war - rather than trying to remain neutral like journalists should, but he wanted to tell it like it is for him. He ends the book by saying that the world has moved on and people don't want to hear about Iraq anymore and how he finds that frustrating and sometimes wonders "why I have done all this?". He knows people are losing interest in the war.
It is a heavy going book and yet, if you push through it, it is interesting and it's great to get a feel for what it might be like over there first hand from a very knowledgable and trusted journalist. I liked this one.
The text is quick-paced with the straightforwardness of a journalist. It reads easily and informatively. That said, the descriptive prose sometimes lacks the eloquence of a novelist as the similes often border on the trite and tired. Nonetheless, they effectively convey the atmosphere or mood Engel means to evoke. The quickness of the text seems to mirror the experience of covering the war as Engel is unable to spend much time contemplating the atrocities he sees and the losses he experiences as there always seems to be another story to file.
Engel's personal anecdotes pepper the recounting of events and intersperse the background information Engel eruditely includes to help the reader understand the various "why's?" many of us have regarding the war. His anecdotes range from the harrowing and infuriating to the comedic and touching.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't have much to add compared to the descriptions of readers that have posted a review. I am simply driven to submit a five-star because I found this book 'delicious. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Will R. Volny
I absolutely loved hearing in his own journalist way how much he cares.Published 9 months ago by Panel Morgan
Published in 2008, this book is a bit dated, or so I thought after I started reading. Later I realized Engel's tale is a microcosm of the sectarian divides that will plague the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Charles A. Krohn
Each newscast that features Engel's reporting makes me worry over his safety. He keeps popping up in the most dangerous situations. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Organgrinder1010
Engel's reporting on the true nature of the terrible period of lawlessness of 2004-8 is unequaled in its honesty, analysis, and power.Published 11 months ago by William Huntington
One of the best books I have read about Middle Eastern PoliticsPublished 12 months ago by Curious Shopper
A great insight to the war in iraq from the best conflict journalist ever to dodge a motor round.Published 17 months ago by Cory Knowles