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Babylon by Bus: Or, the true story of two friends who gave up their valuable franchise selling YANKEES SUCK T-shirts at Fenway to find meaning and adventure in Iraq, Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 3, 2006

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (August 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200912
  • ASIN: B000N3T4HY
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,009,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Neil Laslett on July 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
These guys are over the top in every sense, but perhaps that's fitting for a war and occupation that somehow makes their antics seem quaint. Initially arriving in Baghdad as little more than idiotic war tourists, the intense reality of post-invasion Iraq quickly sinks into them, and they find themselves deeply and emotionally invested, while still remaining outsiders to the CPA (despite bunking in a hallway in the Palace).

Is this book well written? I don't know. It has a certain amateur rawness to it that is authentic, even unanalyzed, which is welcome relief from the many excellent but highly impersonal books by authors such as George Packer and Anthony Shadid that are not able to capture the day-to-day intensity the way these guys do.

I was in Iraq, working in the NGO sector, for over 4 months prior to their little adventures. While I wasn't a part of their Valium and pot subculture, their depiction of the general scene rings true. I would highly recommend this book to anybody interested in understanding what it really meant to be down in the trenches of post-war Iraq reconstruction in those early days when hope was still an option and tireless devotion was an emotional and moral imperative, no matter what your political views or position on the war.

Another reviewer wrote that "the narrative lacks content and purpose". Maybe that's exactly as it should be when describing an occupation that meets the same description.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book and was impressed with these guys' observations and their obvious concern for the Iraqis' plight. They went there almost as a lark then couldn't avoid seeing the ramifications of the conflict. They did take the bull by the horns and did what they could to help, even though nothing anyone could do would be enough. They did seem like doofuses at times but I don't think that matters to the book. I didn't like all the drugs and alcohol and wonder how they survived, but still they seem to have meant well.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was a serendipitous discovery and is a very enjoyable and enlightening read. On one level it's a riveting and picaresque tale of modern day Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer-like adventures; on a more serious level it is good cultural history of how the US dug itself ever deeper into a hole from which there seems little chance of a happy return.Great summer reading.One laughs and cries simultaneously.
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By Andrea on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book, while edgy and occasionally sarcastic, was a breath of fresh air this summer. With raw wit and crystal vision, Ray and Jeff have been able to capture a moment in time that most will never experience. Thank you for sharing your first hand account of your experiences. There were many laughs and many tears.
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