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Waiting for an Ordinary Day: The Unraveling of Life in Iraq Hardcover – September 9, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the intriguing premise focused on the neglected citizens of occupied Iraq, Fassihi, the Wall Street Journal's senior Middle East correspondent, gathered numerous interviews throughout the war-torn cities and religious strongholds of Iraq. The author first came to international attention when a personal e-mail chronicling the rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq made its way onto blogs in 2004; in this book, written in the same spirit as the e-mail, she dissects the convoluted conflicts and connections that closely bind the two major religious groups jockeying for control in the occupied land. She talks to a wide range of people, from staid government personnel to fiery clerics to zealous students, about the country's unstable political and social climate. Fassihi, of Iranian descent, cajoles the normally media-shy working and middle-class people of Sulaimaniyah, Baghdad, Kirkuk and Tikrit to speak on the before-and-after conditions of their civil freedoms. Through these conversations, Fassihi posits hard political and moral questions. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* As the senior Wall Street Journal Middle East correspondent, Fassihi is more than credible in her candid assessment of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On the ground in Baghdad both before and after Saddam’s fall, she focused her attention on the most overlooked aspect of the invasion: the Iraqi middle class. In her interviews with Sunnis and Shias, the secular and devout, those who are pro- and anti-American, Fassihi provides a startling compendium on what could have gone right if everything had not gone so wrong. Her frustration with errors of estimation and planning made by the U.S. government is palpable as she records the deterioration of goodwill. Through her careful collection of interviews and investigations, readers finally understand how the occupation became a war fought by multiple factions. What is heartbreaking is that it could have been avoided, and that this fact is so obvious.“It’s astounding,” Fassihi writes, “that the Americans seem so oblivious to their surroundings, with an inherently selective eye for what’s occurring in Iraq.” This is not politics but reportage written, at last, in a way that anyone, regardless of national origin, can understand. --Colleen Mondor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586484753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586484750
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In her book, Waiting for an Ordinary Day: The Unraveling of Life in Iraq, Farnaz Fassihi presents a heart-wrenching portrait of the Iraqi people as they come to terms with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the rebuilding of their war-torn country. Drawing on her experiences as a Wall Street Journal senior correspondent living in Iraq, Fassihi portrays a compelling story of the struggles of the regular citizens and their families. At first they cheer the Americans for tumbling a brutal dictator, but then weep in despair as the free life they dreamed about becomes a nightmare.

This book is not a discourse on military tactics and political blunders, but readers need to know that many of the Iraqi people interviewed relate disturbing stories with heavy overtones of anti-Americanism and criticism of the President, and at times, Fassihi finds herself voicing her agreement. Descriptions and conversations, framed by the author's own pain and compassion, focus on the lives of people she has befriended. Many are affected by the overthrow, occupation and subsequent collapse of an Iraqi society that blames not only the two major ruling religious sects (Sunni and Shi'ite), but also the foreign occupiers. In Fassihi's words, "Sometimes I find myself wanting to cry while I'm interviewing people and other times I feel detached, like a machine recording misery and death."

During all this turmoil, Fassihi finds love with a fellow correspondent in this war-torn land. When they are on separate assignments, she is tormented by fears of separation.
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Format: Hardcover
Farnaz's account of events are heart breaking. I have been following the incredible sad story of Iraq before the war started. No news of the war over the years have brought the sadness and misery of the war home so clearly. Farnaze's understanding of the culture, traditions and religion particularly makes her account of the events easier to understand. The fundamental factors which the war architects have so badly overlooked and foolishly underestimated and as foolishly they continue the rhetoric's for an even worst war with Iran.
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone should read this book for a beautifully written--vivid and nuanced--account of the situation in Iraq. It will break your heart, but it's essential reading for thinking Americans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just read all of what the 7 other reviews said, and they were all very informative and well descriptive of this book. Therefore, I am not going to repeat their reviews, but to add this...I had just finished President George W. Bush's Memoirs, then picked up this book on the war in Iraq from a different type of war correspondent.
As many of us did not want this war, we still needed to support our military people in harms way. But there was still one question on many Iraqi's minds about our liberation/invasion, and that was..."What did we do to deserve this?"

The author, heroically embedded herself interviewing Iraqi people on the streets as well as in their homes. Since our war in Iraq began, I have read countless books about the war by different people i.e. soldiers themselves, journalists and Washington correspondents inside and outside the Washington/Green Zone Bubble. But this correspondent, Farnaz Fassihi, has written the best book of them all because of how she got her information.
This is a must read book because it is raw, actual living, as an Iraqi, throughout this war on their soil.
If you don't know much about how people sustained themselves and if you'd like to learn more about the differences in the Muslim Sunnis and the Muslim Shiites beliefs, the author will explain it all via her communication with these every day, run of the mill citizens.
This book is quite interesting and absolutely informative. I recommend it highly because we generally don't have too many books of this nature available...living in the shoes of an Iraqi.
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Format: Hardcover
...you knew everything about the shameful war in Iraq, along comes this beautiful book about the war's impact on ordinary citizens. We are fortunate in the US that we have never seen occupiers. Not so in Iraq, and this book makes us realize just how we are perceived. The Bush administration, in all its customary arrogance, thinks that we are 'heroes'. Just read this book to realize just how wrong they were, as usual.
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