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Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War as Seen by NPR's Correspondent Anne Garrels Hardcover – September 3, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
It is hard not to admire Garrels. Enduring everything from bombing raids and artillery barrages to bad food, corrupt officials and aggressive border guards, this veteran war correspondent continued to report for NPR from her perch at the Palestine Hotel throughout the coalition drive toward Baghdad. After all the major television networks pulled out their staffs, Garrels stayed in the middle of it, painting with words the only picture available to most Americans of what was going on in the center of Iraqi power and in the hearts and minds of the frightened and confused residents. Though she writes in the same clear, straightforward prose familiar to radio listeners, the powerful stuff of her live broadcasts translates poorly to the written page in this day-by-day account of her experience. She admits her limited purview, restricted in what she could see by the Iraqi Information Ministry and later by the hazards of the battlefield, and with the manuscript completed only months after her return, the reader is left feeling that reflection is not Garrels's strong suit. There are some nice details, like an Information Ministry staffer asking Garrels for batteries for his shortwave radio so he can "find out what's really going on." But her off-the-cuff impressions of the response of ordinary Iraqis to the war, which rang so true at the time, come off now as obvious and overly simple. This account works well as a personal narrative of courage under fire, suffering and survival, but unfortunately, it lacks in insightful commentary and summing up of events.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
NPR correspondent Garrels, on assignment in Iraq from October 2002, before the war, until April 2003, after the war, offers an inside look at the conflict. She intersperses her reports and reflections with e-mails her husband sent to friends and family, which provide secondary color on the life of a news correspondent. New to Iraq, Garrels focuses on the perils of a new assignment, gathering reliable sources, shepherding all the technology needed for modern radio reporting, and coping with "minders," who^B monitor interviews with Iraqis. She is frank about her uncertainty of how "to tackle this complicated story in a country I don't know." This book is a fascinating look at how she manages, as one of only 16 unembedded reporters in Iraq, with the help of her driver-minder, who becomes a confidant, to cover the build-up to the war and the war itself. Readers looking for details and background on the war will appreciate Garrels' account. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
On an editorial note; it just feels such a pity that we abandoned those who helped us so to the animals called ISIS. Seems Vietnam didn't teach us that this is a wrong thing to do.
A nice blend of strightforward reportage of the central events interspersed with highly personal takes on the extortionate nature of the old regime and the constant pressure on foreign correspondents to satisfy the whims of the greedy and disreputable-- too often including their own egos and those of their employers. Those accustomed to the assiduously neutral words of her radio reports will enjoy the way she gets a few things off her chest.
Ms. Garrels does a wonderful job of demonstrating the near-impossibility of determining to a certainty what should be done.
I'll read it again and am buying copies for friends.
Full disclosure: I've known Anne for 20 years and think she is a great reporter!